“A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.”
— Emily Dickinson
If this past election season has taught us nothing else, it has emphasized the power of words. We heard some of the most hurtful words that could be uttered. And it is very difficult to “unhear” them in the aftermath. Those words are being tossed up again and again – on both sides of the story.
My sainted grandmother used to say “Make your words sweet and tender. You never know when you may have to eat them.”
Teaching our children civility in conversation and manner begins with us. We need to model the behaviors and vocabulary we want them to use. When they are young, we need to protect them from hearing some of the crudities and vulgarities common in today’s world.
Growing up in my grandparents’ home, I never heard loud angry voices or cursing. My grandfather’s strongest epithet was “Well, hell’s bells, Mom.” To which my grandmother might respond “Ye gods and little fishes.”
That doesn’t mean they didn’t know or hadn’t heard the more vulgar language. It simply meant it was not approved for use in our home. In fact, my grandmother taught me that cursing did not show more emotion, but simply a lack of vocabulary. Such language was seen as a poverty of mind and an object for pity.
How do you teach your children to speak?
In the aftermath of last evening’s debate, as well as the two prior debates, I was appalled. I was not surprised, but it was blatantly evident that our society has lost much in simple courtesy and civility.
It is no wonder that our children, as a generation, seem disrespectful. Two candidates for the highest office in the land spent three evenings arguing with each other, interrupting one another, and outright lying to the public as well as about each other.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am a conservative at heart. But the “conservative” candidate is not my idea of a role model. Then again, neither is the liberal candidate. Both have many shortcomings.
Too many of the pertinent issues have been hidden behind all the noise of the campaign. It will take much critical thinking to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
Our children need to be taught how to think critically. They need to be able to sift the noise from the truth and make well-reasoned decisions. Following the crowd – or the polls – without weighing the consequences is destructive.
A national election should be a win-win proposition, with the people choosing between two good candidates, not simply the lesser of two evils.
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~~ II Chronicles 7:14 ( KJV)
God help us.