Words matter

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I was reminded recently that words, in fact, do matter. They have the power to both heal and hurt; unite and divide; to build or destroy; and to be the difference between great success and mediocrity. This is important to remember in personal relationships, in business and even in world affairs.

I often remind my kids to try to put themselves in other people’s shoes before they rush to judgement—understanding that one never really knows everything going on in someone else’s life. This is also true with speech. What I may view as a funny line, someone else may view as hurtful. Whether I intended to hurt the person or not, they might feel hurt. How they feel is mostly up to them, not to me.

It has been said that the human tongue is a beast that few can master. It strains constantly to break out of its cage, and if it is not tamed, it will run wild and cause you grief. The poet Pearl Strachan Hurd once surmised that words should be handled carefully because they have more power than atom bombs.

Written words can be even more powerful. I remember my dad pushing me to read books and magazines, especially in the summer. I find myself doing the same thing to my kids. In the age of Google, this has proven difficult. But then I found this quote from Warren Buffet. In response to a question about how to prepare for a career, Buffet said, “Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

One kind word can change someone’s entire day; the ability to learn through written words is unlimited; ill begotten words, spoken or written, can cause pain for both the locutor and the listener.

Words are powerful and do matter.

Where do you stand?

Michael Sarafa is Co-publisher of the Chaldean News.