I’m sure by now most of you have seen or heard about the Covington High School video. It’s kinda hard to miss, unless you’ve been living under a rock.
I’m also fairly confident you have an opinion about the whole thing.
But I’m wondering, would your opinion change if:
- the boy in the video had been wearing an ‘I’m With Her’ hat
- the man in the video had been a well dressed white man
- the event would have been a pro-choice march
The thing is, we all see things differently.
We view the world through unique lenses created by personal experiences.
And sometimes, that’s a good thing, as it provides opportunities to gain knowledge…opportunities to strengthen beliefs…opportunities to demonstrate empathy…opportunities to agree to disagree respectfully.
Unfortunately, sometimes we are so blinded by our opinions and beliefs that we fail to see the truth.
Worse yet, sometimes we don’t bother to seek it.
Instead, we react.
And sometimes we react in a very public way, not realizing how our words impact those around us.
I’ve seen a lot of that on social media lately. I’ve gotten pulled into reading rather long threads which leave me feeling angry, sad, and exasperated.
We seem to thrive on that which divides us.
All of this has gotten me thinking about the power of words—more specifically, the power of the written word.
Because while the words spoken to you may become fuzzy after time, written words have longevity.
I’m a saver of written words. In spite of my inborn inclination to purge myself of clutter, I have kept:
- letters from my husband
- cards created by my kids
- handwritten messages from friends and colleagues
- emails and letters from past students
- report card comments (not kidding)
- evaluations from my principals
I’ve kept them, because when I reread them, I feel loved.
I feel worthy.
I feel I matter.
I feel I have made a difference.
And those words build me up. They encourage me to be even better.
On the flip side, until a year or two ago, I held onto a scathing email written to me by a parent of a student many, many moons ago. And it hurt every time I read it—even when I finally came to accept the fact it wasn’t really about me.
So words have power.
And here’s where I am going with all of this.
Without a doubt, simple acts of kindness are transformational. Your words have the ability to change a life.
Therefore, I am inviting you to make a positive difference in the world by combatting the negativity running rampant.
Would you be willing to commit to writing a letter a month to a person in your life?
Maybe this is a person struggling and could use a kind word.
Maybe this is a loved one needing to know (not assume) how you feel about them.
Maybe this is someone (a teacher or a coach) who made a difference in your life.
Or maybe (if you really want a challenge) this is a person you are often in contention with.
What do you think could happen if we used words to build each other up?
Anybody with me?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, your ideas, and the results of your actions!
Proverbs 18:21 The Message (MSG)
21 Words kill, words give life;
they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.
Galatians 5:14-15 The Message (MSG)
13-15 It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?