The One Things Words Can't Do

When I was in grade school, my parents taught me about the value of words. Reading wasn't only important, it was required. My father still enjoys crossword puzzles. My mother is an avid reader of novels (Dee Henderson is her favorite author).  My brother and I had floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in our bedrooms, filled with books of all shapes, sizes, and types. If we finished our homework early, it was reading time. If I asked what a word meant, my mother made me look it up in the dictionary and use it in a sentence to make sure I understood the defined term. My parents didn't even speak in "goo-goo-ga-ga" baby talk to us or any other infants. We didn't have a "ba-ba", we had a bottle. We didn't have a "binky', we had a pacifier. Yes, my parents found value in words and knowing how to use them efficiently.


As important as my parents found words, they discouraged me to verbally express myself as a teenager (outside the house; I could express myself to them). At the time, I found it stifling. Upon entering young adulthood, there was no stopping me! I could finally say whatever it was I wanted to say! And, now, at the age of 35, I can say that my parents were right. Verbal expression and using your words is a valuable tool for communication. But, if not used delicately, those same liberating expressions can result in an undesired outcome.


Words are so powerful! They're more than things you use to tell a story. Words can do SO many things! Whether written or spoken. Words can be interpreted, or misinterpreted. Words can guide, or deceive. Words can light a path, or dim the way. Words can heal a nation, or weaken a generation. Words can expose love or other emotions, or conceal them. Words can attract, or repel. Words can enlighten, or confuse. Words can uplift, or depress. Words are truly a powerful tool of communication!


Yes, words can do so many things! So very many things. But I have learned from my own mistakes that there is actually one thing that words cannot do. They cannot retract (or be retracted). They cannot retract themselves, as if they were never used. They cannot retract the results caused by their use. So be careful with words. Their power should not be ill-considered.




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