The power of words should not be underestimated. ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ (Edward Bulwer-Lytton 1839) has many levels of interpretation. I am a firm believer that it is the spoken word which is most potent, if well informed, considered and delivered with passion.
A kind word can rescue the down at heart. An acute observation delivers insight. The right question engages someone else and opens them up to speak their mind, and so empower themselves. Permission giving can change someone else’s life for the better.
Well chosen words heal, inspire, encourage, and thank the worthy, or cow bullies. They can be used to challenge the powerful and make them think again. Or used to assist the meek rise up and claim their birth right. They can defend us from attack, or convince attackers that we are impregnable and require no defence.
It’s one of the reasons I believe reading is so important- because well-read people learn from the lives and thoughts of others; they have cogent information to inform their opinions; they have heard many cadences of well-chosen words to inform their own diction; they have strengthened the heart of what it is they have to say. Well-read people are more likely to have an enchanting rhythm to their speech.
So when I teach a lot of what I am doing is trying to help others find their voice, not just hear mine.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this.
One thought on “The Power of Words”
I never subscribed to the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” An unkind word, delivered with malice aforethought, wounds as deeply, and often for much, much longer than a well aimed physical blow. Ask the victims of bullying how powerful words are.
And on the lighter side, yes, a single word of praise goes a very long way too.