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Saturday 19 October 2019
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Letters to the Editor

The importance of words

THE EDITOR: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” is a phrase many of us used as children, more than likely to a bully. A child may use those words to give an appearance of strength but the truth is that phrase is rooted in a lie.

As much as we try to deny it, words have significance, words have consequences, words can build or destroy, words can excite the spirit as well as kill it. We guard our homes, we guard our cars, we guard our finances and these days we can even pay lots of money to guard our identities, but somehow we pay no mind to guarding our words.

I recently heard a recording of a teacher uttering the most unthinkable things in the most atrocious way to a class of students. And of course there was the resultant uproar with some parents even alluding to taking legal action.

In cases like that, it is clear to see the effect of words on another human being so I completely understand and agree that something ought to be done to prevent that teacher from further damaging herself and others.

But I am writing this with the hope that we as individuals can really start to take careful stock of the words that come out of our mouths because they are a reflection of our state of mind.

I have heard parents say the worst things to and about their own children and then those children say the worst things to and about their children and on and on the cycle of abuse continues. It’s almost absurd to think that parent once held that baby in their arms and that baby looked up to them with the most trusting eyes, only to be betrayed years later.

There are employers who believe they are entitled to say the absolute worst things to their staff. Every day we lose self-control and pay no mind to what we say to other people on the roads, in stores, in restaurants, in any situation. Yet we are appalled by the things we heard that teacher say. Reminds me of a saying involving a pot and a kettle that my parents used to say.

The point I am making is that we need to look in the mirror and each and every one of us has to start taking responsibility for the words we speak and the way we say them. Even if we believe those words to be true, let us not excuse and console ourselves by saying, “Well is true.” There is a way to tell someone the truth without causing calamity and I am sure we will find it if we are truly interested in doing so.

If we put something nasty into our mouths, our bodies are designed to simply eliminate it as waste, but if something nasty leaves our mouths, it can take years of hard work and sometimes expensive therapy for the recipient to minimise its effects on their lives.



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