Make us better

Can you remember a time when a simple phrase from another person changed your life? It probably happened when you weren’t seeking or expecting life-altering advice. Maybe it was from someone you didn’t even know.

In 1974, Canada adopted John Furlong from his native Ireland. Upon his arrival, an immigration officer said to him simply, “Make us better.” John Furlong can’t name that immigration officer, and the man likely had no idea that the words would so dramatically affect the life of a new Canadian citizen. But 36 years later, when named Canada’s Nation Builder of 2010 by the Globe and Mail, Furlong points to those words as the driving force behind his success. Three simple words powered the man behind the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

What dangerously beautiful potential words have.

With three simple words, the anonymous immigration officer simultaneously wrapped a new citizen in a warm welcome and commissioned him to play a part in this country. What if the words had been different? What if he had said, “Don’t screw up”? Or the words that so often greet immigrants: “Go back to where you came from.”

When have I been the person to say a few simple words that empowered someone? When have my words robbed someone of their strength?

Maybe today, as I go about my business, I will meet someone. Maybe I will say a few simple words that will change their life. I will try really hard to make sure they are words that make us better.

To read the Globe and Mail story, follow this link:


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on December 31, 2010, in good faith, spirit, story and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I know you have affected many people with the positive things you say to them. You certainly made a difference in me.

  2. Hi Arlene,
    If your readers enjoy Science and Story as much as I do, they may wish to vote for it in the new “Best Weblog about Religion” Category for the Eleventh Annual Weblog Awards: The 2011 Bloggies. Final nominations are based on the number of nominations received, so if they are so inclined, they should go here:

  1. Pingback: Visa Informer

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