Nine Words

You is kind. You is smart. You is important.                        ~ Aibileen Clark

I read Kathryn Stockett’s The Help long before it became a New York Times Best Seller or was featured as an Oprah’s Book Club book. Last night I rented the movie from the Red Box outside of a tiny grocery store in a little town on the Texas bayou.

My favorite part of the book was also my favorite part of the movie. It was when Aibileen said those 9 precious words to little Mae Mobley.

It made me wonder – would we be any different if we all heard those words over and over – from the time we first knew words, until the day words lost their meaning? What if someone who really meant it, said it to you, your whole life: You is kind. You is smart. You is important. 

And what if you began to believe it? As I was writing, I had to stop and ask myself what my own reaction is to those 9 words. Do I see myself as kind? Reasonably. Smart? Not particularly. Important? No.

And then, an equally telling question. Do I thank others for their kindness? Do I value their wisdom? Do I make them feel important?

Words matter. Maybe we could just start with 9 and build from there. You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

Author: Debbie

A former counselor and public speaker, I'm grateful for many, many things - God's grace most of all!

28 thoughts on “Nine Words”

  1. A school Superintendent–is that where the love of books comes from? I, too, would have found a cemetery stroll intriguing–but I’m not surprised that your parents looked askance–that’s kind of the way most parents were/are…

    My two black nannies were Ruth and Maybelle. Ruth was there M-F, and was more strict–but when Maybelle came on Saturdays, she wouldn’t make us take naps!! That’s about all I recall, personally, as I was very about 4 years old–but I heard other things when I became an adult, that I’d have to save for an email….

    1. Caddo – I love to hear more someday (when you recover from all the award speeched! ) 😉
      Yes, books were big in my house. About the time I began walking, I develped an fixation with the Encyclopedia Britannica, much to my parents chagrin. Maybe I’ll write about it someday. 😉

  2. Oh thank you, Debbie. Words are so important. I don’t know why we seem willing to be free with words that wound and limit, while we’re amazingly stingy with words that could encourage, enrich, spark. How is it we can be indulgent with our children in every material way and rob their spirit of all a good word can do?

    Debbie, you is kind, you is smart, you is important!

    1. Dear Paulann – Some day I’ll write about that old adage ‘Sticks and Stones’. I think that’s one of the most damaging sayings that’s ever caught on in the guise of wisdom. It’s incredible how indelible hurtful words are, isn’t it? They write in an ink that rarely fades. Thank you, again for your kind and wise words and important words.
      ~ Debbie

  3. Oh, SIS! First, you ARE all those things “and a bag of chips” or a “batch of brownies” or something fabulously great. Second, such a great word for us today–and a great nudge for me to get the movie/book. And if I may add, I love you dearly!!!! God bless you BIG today, and always. your Caddo sis

    1. Hello Caddo, sister of mine! It’s a tough call between brownies and Limon Flavored Potato Chips! 😀
      I loved the book (and the movie). I thought it was well written and certainly a slice of life (you’ll get that reference if you read the book) in the South in the early 60’s. I couldn’t have been more oblivious.
      God bless you BIG, too!
      ~ Debbie

      1. Debbie–those chips sound really good right now (dessert after the dark choc I just ate…give me a break, it’s V’Day). Some other time I’ll tell you about my 2 black “nannies”–I was very little and they were the world to me. When I was a bit older, we had a couple white cleaning ladies–one in particular is dear to my heart… Sometimes those folks in “unglamorous” roles are pivotal to our lives–which is undoubtedly why the Lord made mention of the “least of these” (not to include children, only). See you on the flip side–Bless you! Caddo xxxooo

      2. Dear Caddo – How fascinating! I would love to hear your stories!
        I never had a nanny, but my Dad was a school Superintendent, so there were tons of social events meaning I often had a babysitters.
        My folks tended to pick elderly ladies. 🙂
        My favorite was Hattie Repogle, who always took me walking in the cemetery. For some reason this seemed to disturb my Mom and Dad, but I loved it. 😀
        ~ Debbie

  4. Good words to live by.

    I liked the book; have not seen the movie; grew up in Mississippi and object to the title. We did not call the persons who helped us raise our children “the help”.

    1. Linda – I didn’t realize you grew up in Mississippi.
      I grew up in northern Indiana in the tiny town of Middlebury where the only bit diversity in 1963 (when I was 7) was the rather significant Amish population.
      I would guess that many homes were like yours and treated the individuals who worked for them with kindness and respect.
      The book, of course, is a work of fiction. Most of the criticisms I’ve read of it have been that it is too generous in portraying the life of black domestics in the south in the 60’s.
      My point really was meant to be less of a social commentary of those times, of which I have no personal experience, and more of a commentary on the weight of our words.
      Thank you for adding your perspective as a true southerner.
      ~ Debbie

  5. Cool.

    Thanks, Debbie!

    Great post! I guess this takes away the notion that all of us are important, but some are more important than others, yes?

    Praying we will remember to speak positive uplifting words to those around us.


  6. Wonderful post, wonderful words! Words to practice and share with others. I’ll remember this and attempt to share them with the ones around me that are so in need of affirmation. Of course you would take this to heart, your heart so full of grace and grace-giving. love to you dear friend.

    1. Debby, my dear heart friend – as you share those words so generously with the many you minister to, please hear them from me to you. You is kind. You is smart. You is important. You amaze me!
      love to you,
      ~ Debbie

  7. i am sad that you do not realize how kind smart important and so on that you are. i know i know. i need to be sad i don’t know it for myself. i wonder what would happen if we started caring for our little girl again? i am heading to a turbo session of phase 1 the 21 21 23rd of this month. prayers appreciated. gaye

  8. I am a slow phone typed. You s kind you is smart and you IS important. No doubt: You is !!! I love this. Let’s practice believing. I know I believe these things about you. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have heard these 9 words all along? xxoo Mel

    1. Mel – wouldn’t it though? We’re not done yet! We can just keep reaffirming these and other sweet truths. You is kind! You is smart! You is important! I wish you’d heard that growing up. Please hear it now!
      love to you,
      ~ Debbie

  9. Gracious One . . .you is kind, you is smart. you is important. All those things and more. Love you and thank you for this. Praying to put it into action. And I think it needs put up on twitter and facebook too. 🙂 – the other deb

    1. Dearest Deb – I don’t know how to put things on Twitter but thank you for you sweet words. You are so kind and smart and important. I love and value you.
      ~ Debbie

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