In my life, words have fascinated me. I have always reached for the most descriptive adjective to illuminate my listeners. It wasn't just pretty...it was stunningly beautiful; not just cold ... bone-chilling shivery. I even make up words of my own like "muchly." I think it describes what I mean better than just "so much". Who says I can't? Noah Webster, the great author of fabulous dictionaries extraordinaire, would probably either high-five me or slap me upside the head. I'm just so wordy. Words measure what's in my heart and I am absolutely convinced that they convey what's inside the hearts of others. Even the Bible tells us that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks!" If you squeeze me, out squirts what's inside of me. If I'm full of love, love explodes out of me under pressure. If I'm full of something and vinegar, that's what's coming out so grab a rain poncho.
Words are containers. They hold our thoughts, feelings, dreams, junky stuff we put in there, and they hold them for a long time. Remember your first day of kindergarten? I do. I had just turned 5. Just. I was late and I remember standing outside the door alone with all of the other kids inside. Out came the teacher, smiling saying "come on in, Barby! We're going to have fun!" I'm 53 (tell me you can't believe it!) and her words are still with me. I was frightened and she squelched it all with her calm, reassuring invitation to come inside. I loved her instantly and she loved me. (I used to think everybody did!). She knew I was sort of sensitive so she kept me safe in her word choices. She praised my picture of me on a stage with a microphone and a big beehive hairdo. I've attained the "stage and microphone" as a pastor, but the beehive will have to wait until I'm older than dirt.
So, I say all of this to remind you, lovely reader, that people are listening to you all day. Some you will impact for the rest of their lives with the things you say today. If you're a teacher or a mom or a dad or a best friend or a boss or a cashier at Casey's, your words are powerful. They can put someone on a mountain top or toss them into a manhole. Surely, words are weapons of mass destruction in the lives of some children I know. How they'll overcome what has been said to them so far, I can't imagine. Some will shrink into a corner and some will come out fighting. Be careful what you say to a child. They are little sponges and words just soak right in. Grown-ups have such sway in the life of a kid. Please use that weapon wisely. You can put some words into a child that will catapult them into the National Honor Society or crush them into an embarrassed, paralyzed halt. We have so much power with our choice of words. Today and every day, pay attention to what words slip out of that influential mouth of yours. Maybe desperate ears are listening to your words. Make them sweet just in case you have to eat them. And, surely, make them beautiful!!!