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A Word Game to Inspire

I was recently rearranging some of the items on the corkboard that hangs in my office, removing things that were no longer relevant or adding new photos. It's a mixed-bag, narrowly-defining representation of who I am and who I've been. Not the whole picture, but a few particular pieces I like: postcards and photos and sketches and gifts and quotes. A bunch of feathers from a mask I made a wore to a masquerade ball. A fake gold medal from elementary school, earned for reading more than a hundred books that year.

Bits of my corkboard life
In the middlish area of the board is an unassuming piece of cardstock with six words copied on it. Those words were given to me years ago, when I worked with a church youth group. On one particular activity day, the members of the youth group broke up into smaller groups of six or seven, and each smaller group sat in a circle. We were given post-it notes and a paper lunch sack. For each person in the group, we wrote a one-word description and dropped it into their sack, so our words were anonymous. When I opened my sack, this is what I read:


I like the words a lot. Life-defining moments, tears in my eyes level of like. I especially like that they were given to me by a group of people I hadn't always felt I belonged with. For a long time, I had a complicated relationship with religion. I was different--my ideologies, my opinions didn't always mesh with this group.

Even so, these were the things they saw when they looked at me, the things they noticed when they interacted with me. I liked that this is what they saw. Now, if I'm having a day of doubt or insecurity, I can reflect on these words and feel comforted or inspired. I can remind myself that other people saw these qualities in me. And that means a lot.

I think everyone should have a list like this. Lots of lists like this, if possible. The next time you are with a small group of people--perhaps at a retreat or conference, or maybe with the social or youth groups you work with--do this activity. All you need are a few pieces of paper and a pen. Give other people a way to remember their awesome qualities when they really need to. Give that to yourself.

We are coming upon the season of giving, after all.

Kristin Halbrook

Kristin Halbrook is the author of the critically-acclaimed young adult novels Nobody But Us (HarperTeen, 2013) and Every Last Promise (HarperTeen, 2015). She likes many things.

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  1. I love that idea, and I love your words ;)

  2. That's a fantastic game/group idea. And definitely some words never to put into storage!


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Item Reviewed: A Word Game to Inspire Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kristin Halbrook