When I was young, the power of words was astonishing. Words had the power to invoke in the human heart a whole array of feelings. When they came from abusive parents, the words were full of danger, and filled with hurt that got stuck first, in a child’s throat, and moved to the lungs, freezing the chest. They had the power to stop all action such as running, skipping, jumping, and laughing. All breathing stopped, and one hoped for the best. It was amazing to see words slice into the heart, and remove hope from the soul.
On the play ground, unkind words shouted by school bullies filled the heart with a burning shame that seemed to never end. It was usually about things one couldn’t change or do anything about, like wearing glasses, being cross-eyed, too short, too wide, or clumsy. Sometimes it came as a result of wearing dirty clothes because an alcoholic mother seldom washed clothes.
But words also had the magical power to heal: When kids shouted a child’s name with pride when he became good at hitting home runs or making goals on the soccer field. When a teacher smiled and said with kind words, “Some day you will achieve much for our world,” creating a sense of faith that good could come from a child’s hard work.
Words had the power to heal in the process of undergoing therapy with a compassionate Social Worker. They had the power to give pride to a parent, when a child first uttered the word, “Mama,” or “Dada,” These three words spoken by a child, ” I love you,” had the power to produce joy in the receiver and the giver.
Words can heal or destroy. They can lift one up with hope or throw one into the depths of despair. They can evoke a feeling of love or overwhelming hate. They can make a person feel worthy or unworthy, produce trust, or create fear.
One thing is for sure, that words should be spoken truthfully, delivered kindly, spoken thoughtfully, and as much as possible, with acceptance toward the recipient. Words have incredible power and can bring about so much goodness. Each person has to decide for himself how he will use the power of words during a life time.