Until her son became a walking disaster.
"He couldn't go anywhere without dropping or spilling something, without knocking things over or tripping over his own feet," she said. "It was like my words had cast a spell over him."
Children not only tend to believe everything they're told, but they also internalize criticism, often repeating it to themselves over and over. If they believe it, they can become it, or become altered by it.
When that 6-year-old's wise and all-knowing mother declared her child to be clumsy, he believed it had to be true.
When my respected teacher said I couldn't sing, I couldn't. After my cool cousin said I couldn't dance -- put me on the dance floor and I'll so prove she was right.
Words wielded by those we respect can be powerful. From them spin self-fulfilling prophecies that can be hard to overcome.
My friend was gradually able to convince her son that he wasn't a walking tornado, but the damage took time to undo.
Unfortunately, the spells cast over me have been in place so long I'm fairly certain they can't be undone. Luckily, though, I believe I've grown immune to the power of critical comments and negative digs.
Despite the many critical comments friends and family members have made about my driving over the years, I still get behind the wheel.
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@gmail.com.