The husband and I were driving around Smithland, Kentucky a few days ago. It’s a beautiful little river city near Paducah. I’ll forgive you if you haven’t heard of Smithland, it puts the small in small town.
I saw a cool street sign there, however, that made me start thinking about words – not that I need much motivation to think about words. I’m totally obsessed with them to begin with. Love to write them, love to read them, love to just immerse myself in their company every chance I get.
The sign was on a narrow little street lined with houses (with yards filled with bikes, swing sets, etc.). The Sign said, “DRIVE SLOW. WE LOVE OUR KIDS!”
This sign put on a Communication’s Workshop all by itself. Copywriters, bloggers, speakers – anyone who owns a mouth with which they speak or hands with which they write could gather around the humble little sign and soak up the knowledge.
Everyone needs a WHY in life. Telling someone DO THIS or DON’T DO THAT without a why to support it simply isn’t as effective. The beauty of this sign lies in the fact that it conjures up something that most signs don’t – Emotion. Most of us are used to the “Slow Children Playing” signs. We seldom even register them when we see them anymore. (The only time I really notice them is when they remind me of what my dad said when they put this sign on our street, “Okay,but how about the fast ones? Are they fair game?” – I miss my dad.)
When you see one of the signs in Smithland, you’re pulled into the emotion that we all have for our children. The feeling tugs on your heart and you lay off the gas.
Words. Are. Powerful.
Words have the power to heal broken hearts and make dreams come true. They have the power to make people better about themselves. They also have the power to break hearts and keep dreams from coming true. And of course they have the power to tear someone down completely and cause them to feel completely worthless.
How forcible are right words! – Job 6:25
Maybe it’s because I have such a close, loving relationship with words – but I wish that people who use words to harm, judge, belittle, tease, or shame others would take up the habit of chewing gum…… a big wad of gum, so thick that they can’t possibly even speak.
Wouldn’t the world be a more joyous, fun place in which to live?!?!
This is just one of the reasons I always strive to keep hate out of my heart and out of my mind. When hate moves into your heart or mind, rest assured no good will ever come from it. It’ll simply grow and grow – then come flying out of your mouth or fingertips. Confucius said it best, “Words are the voice of the heart.” If your words are consistently critical, condemning, and unkind – guess what emotion dominates your heart?! It’s not just time to give your vocabulary an overhaul, it’s time to rethink your outlook on life.
I’ve often wondered if those who are hyper critical and overly judgmental are, on some level, very unhappy. It just seems to me that if you’re a happy and content person who truly appreciates your blessings, you won’t have time to spit hatred all over the place.
If that’s the case, then I feel kind of sorry for the grumble guts. Hopefully, before they push the entire world away from them, they’ll find happiness. THEN, they can spread that instead of misery.
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. – Josh Billings
We’d all do well to begin paying closer attention to our words – some people might just be amazed. Begin to be freer with your compliments and more stingy with your sarcasm and insults. If someone you love looks beautiful, tell them so. If they cook a killer meal, commend them right before you give them a heartfelt “Thank you!” If someone does a favor for you, let them know how much you appreciate the favor and, even more, them.
Don’t take people for granted and never assume someone knows how you feel or what you think. They’ll only know for sure when you tell them.
“Words are the voice of the heart.” – Confucius