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Friday, July 5, 2019

The Words We Speak & the Power They Hold

Have you ever considered that the words we speak create reality? Our words are like bits in a horse's mouth. They are like a rudder on a boat that you steer on a lake. They are like a spark that creates a raging fire. Notice the previous analogies and how each is disproportionately powerful, like our tongue or words we speak. Just think of books, blogs, tweets, that you have read and some of the impact that they had on you. On Twitter, we follow those that we agree with or that inspire us— from their words. There are educators on Twitter that have made a significant difference in their careers, all as a result of the words they tweet.
As teachers, we are or should be held to a very high standard.

Our words often define us. I know you are saying, Hal, it's our actions that are more important than our words. That we must walk our talk. I even say in my book that a parent in my last district told me, "Hal, you walk your talk." And I followed that saying that it might have been the best compliment I have had. Again, those words had a massive impact on me.

We judge our leaders by the words they say. Gossip is powerful, only from the spoken word. When I was hiring educators, I would Google the candidates, looked at their Twitter feeds, Instagram stories to see what kind of words they used.

Words can abuse. When someone is emotionally abused, as I see it, is because of the words spoken to them. One word spoken in the wrong place can burn a soul. I once tweeted that I felt educators should never use sarcasm in their classroom. The first definition of sarcasm that comes up online is "a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain" If you look further and from the origin, in the Greek, it means literally "to strip off the flesh!" I had many on Twitter that disagreed with me and felt that sarcasm could be used in the right way and would not harm. I have to say be VERY careful if you choose to use sarcasm in the classroom or to any student. I venture to say that most cigarettes tossed out of a car do not cause a fire, but it only takes one to create a wildfire.

Words can also bring fire to the winter of your soul. Have you ever thought that the tongue can do what nature cannot? Our words can both bless and curse. They can soothe and cause pain.  Your words can inspire or cut down.  However, in nature, this is not true. A freshwater spring cannot turn into a saltwater spring. An olive tree cannot produce apples.

The quality of your words should match the value of the person you are speaking to. Consider the difference between a hummingbird and a buzzard. The buzzard will fly all over the living and focus on the death of one animal. The hummingbird will fly all over a desert to find one living flower. Words can honor and encourage. I'm sure each of you can remember a teacher that you made you feel special, by the words spoken to you.

I remember in my very first teaching job when my principal during my summative conference shared that he thought one day I would make a good administrator. I was a middle school teacher and coach. All I ever wanted was to become a head coach in football. But those words stuck with me, and eventually I was fortunate to serve as a superintendent.

Remember out of the overflow of your heart, the mouth speaks.

There are three powerful blessings that you can give, simply by your spoken word.
You have what it takes.
You are forgiven
God used you in my life

When you accept people of who they are; extend grace or forgive; tell others that they are valuable or that they matter; and love the one in front of you. As a believer, I am all of those four words. I am accepted into God's family; I am forgiven; I am valuable and am worth His son; and I am loved. I am defined by those.

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