I was doing a craft activity with a seven year old boy, as we chatted about his day. We finally got onto the subject of family and I asked him who was living in his house with him. He told me that he was living with his grandparents and another sibling and occasionally saw his mum.

Lowering his voice, and his head, he then told me that his dad left the family when he was just a little baby.

I asked him to look up at me as I wanted to make sure that he took in the words I was about to say. ‘You know that it wasn’t your fault that daddy left, don’t you?’ ‘No, I didn’t’, he responded and then broke down in uncontrollable sobs.

I handed him a handful of tissues and he wiped his eyes and blew his nose.

‘I am fine now’, he said and then requested to go back to class. I checked on him later in the day and he was happily playing with the other children. He has not mentioned dad since but regularly comes up to greet me and tell me about his weekend.

A few well-chosen words, in the right place and at the right time, can make a really big difference in the life of a little child.