The power of words


Remember when your mother used to teach you the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”? And remember when you realized that wasn’t exactly true and words hurt almost as much as sticks and stones?
I talked over at the BNW blog yesterday about how I always wanted to be a writer and it started with my 6th grade teacher.  And then I remembered a story from a friend, who had a teacher do the exact opposite and she QUIT writing because her teacher was so awful to her.  Which of course, got me thinking.  No surprise there, every thing always gets me thinking.  Pretty annoying for the hubby and kids when I start asking questions out of the blue, but anyway.  That got me thinking about how much influence people in authority have over others.
I’m not just talking about parents and teachers over kids, but bosses and politicians, etc over adults. Even friends and partners, neighbors.  Anyone really. And how easy it is for one person to say something, which could mean absolutely nothing to them, but destroy an entire person’s career, or life, or whatever.
That’s the power of words.  As a writer I know words can be powerful, but I never sat down to think exactly what power they wield.  One simple thank you can completely metamorphisize someone’s entire day, maybe even their life.  And one ill-thought choice of words can cause untold amounts of pain.
Words have started wars and ended them. They’ve caused and cured illnesses.  They are the windows letting people see who and what we are and stand for. And for the most part, we (as humans) spend more time brushing our hair, then we do in thinking about what we say.
But I have to wonder what a world we would live in, if we just took a few minutes to think about what we say before we say them.

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