We can never really know the impact our words and actions can have on other people. All we can do is be honest and open, and accept every person as they are.
I saw this in action today, at a talk by author Kate Forsyth as part of our library's writers' festival. The audience was composed of children and adults. Most children were there because of their love of Kate's stories, while most adults were there to glean knowledge about Kate's writing process.
Kate spoke for an hour or so, tailoring her talk to the audience. All were bewitched by her, as she produced the exercise books in which she, as an eight year old, had written her first books. They were hand written and illustrated; with a contents page and laid out in chapters. She told us stories about her writing; how she saw life and the moments that she gathered together to spin into novels.
Afterwards, she listened carefully to each person as she signed their books, and took care to engage with each person individually. I watched one young girl tell Kate about her own stories, written on lined pages, and listened as Kate gave encouragement and support to the girl's dreams.
These types of actions influence our lives in ways we can't always imagine. I think how lucky I was to have been there.