THE POWER OF WORDS
If you were a reporter for your local newspaper, what would you write a story about and why?
Siwe had to answer this question for a HS application. I was floored by the intensity and thoughtfulness of her essay. For me it was an in-depth look at the life that our children face on a daily basis. I was not where she is now when I was 14 years old.
If I was a reporter for my local newspaper, I would write a story about the effect that words can have on a person. Every day, I see how words can positively or negatively affect the people around me to the point where the old rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” has lost its power. I’ve noticed that there are a few choice words that affect the people around me (and myself) the most.
The first is “gay.” It is widely known that although “gay” has just two main dictionary definitions (happy and homosexual), it is now being used as a synonym for “dumb,” “stupid”, “pathetic”, and/or any number of other negative adjectives. Or, how just calling someone “gay,” as in homosexual, can bring out the worst in them. Recently, I witnessed a fight almost break out because a boy called another boy “gay.” They were just playing at first and then the word came out and I could see the other boy’s eyes lose their light and his whole demeanor change. His friend may have been merely joking, but the comment was not taken lightly. He jumped up, began cursing, and flipped a cafeteria table. I know the boy personally and would have never seen that coming. In this case, that one word made an extremely negative impact. Luckily, the only one hurt was the table (which may never walk again…).
Another is less of a word and more of a topic. Rape. In my school, rape jokes are common. I, personally, have VERY close friends that have been either molested or raped (one was even impregnated at 12 as a result) that can attest to how UN-funny rape is. Nevertheless, it has become a joke. I can remember a time, 1 or 2 years ago, when a friend of mine was subject to a rape joke that hit home with full-impact. She, my friend, had been sexually molested in the past and the joke brought severe flashbacks that brought not only the image, but also the “resolved” feelings of worthlessness, guilt , and heartache. She started mutilating herself (again) and even considered suicide (again) – all because of what someone felt was an innocent joke. Once again, luck was present. She got help, stopped cutting herself, decided against killing herself, and truly began the process of recovering and dealing with those inevitable moments.
My last word will be a positive one. Beautiful. I am currently racking my brain to fine one person who is either unaffected by the word or negatively affected by it. I’ve yet to find a single person. Especially not myself. “Beautiful” is easily my favorite word. Being called “beautiful” can lift my spirits more than red velvet cake with chocolate ice cream. There was one time, when I had a cut on my face that I felt ugly. I thought I looked hideous and deformed. Then one of my best friend wipe my tears, kissed the cut and assured me of my beauty. I was still down, but she had made me feel comfortable enough to leave my room. She gave me the strength to stand strong when someone asked about it. My cut is still visible, but is much less noticeable.
These three cases show that words can cause very strong reactions – positive or negative – that the users did not expect or want. I think my article would make people more aware of what they say, which I think is important. That is why I would choose to write an article about the power of words.
Out of the mouths of babes... I could say so much about her unedited words, but I think you get it.
Words are powerful.
Think before you speak.
Choose words that motivate, educate and inspire.
Look in the mirror and use these words on yourself and then others.
Speak love. Talk joy. Yell happiness! Move joy forward with every breath. Unleash the power of joy with your tongue. Change your words. Change your life.