Words are funny little things. From “I” to “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilico-volcanoconiosis” each word has meaning alone and within the context it’s used. Sometimes they’re used to communicate information. Sometimes they’re used to raise people up. Sometimes they’re used to tear people down.
Words can hurt.
Sometimes those words get away from us. A joke is taken too far. Auto-correct on your phone changes “fuck” to “fix”. A Freudian slip derails an entire line of thought.
More often than not though, I find, when words do damage it’s because the one speaking them, typing them, jotting them down didn’t take the time to stop themselves. Or they wanted them to be a slap in the face.
I’ve heard too many times in the wide world and in my private life that talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. But words are full of their own power. Their own place in our hearts and minds. We tell children to believe sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. It’s handed down as a mantra to protect them from the fact that words do hurt. Words can tear down and destroy so much more easily than they can build up and repair. Words spoken cannot be unsaid, cannot be unheard anymore than you can withdraw a punch or kick once it’s connected with its target.
When we’re done teaching kids the lesson of sticks and stones we remind them the pen is mightier than the sword…
Words have power. I think we all know that to be true. So how do we learn that it’s just as wrong to throw words at others as it is to throw rocks?