The Power of Words
Thejas Gigy Thomas, I MA English
“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the mind of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts”.
- Patrick Rothfuss
Words are the most powerful weapon man or woman can ever acquire the power to explain thy thoughts and feelings upon one another. The power to manipulate, the power to fabricate a story, the power to compose a song or story, is all powers that the English language and intelligence around the world has brought to us.
Raman Chettan was our paddy field supervisor. When given coffee, he would say, “Oh Coffee! Tea would have been better”. When Tapioca with fish was given, he would say, “Fish? Chili chutney would have been better”. He did not actually mean what he said. Many of us, like him, never think about about what we say. Words are like arrows. They have the ability to hit the target if you shoot well, otherwise, words sting. And words once used cannot be taken back. So choose your words wisely. Reader’s Digest published a book titled “Use the Right Word”. Though it is about the use of right vocabulary, I feel in our daily life we must use the right words to communicate. Iam not talking about the art of public speaking but how we talk to one another in our day-to-day life. Once a mother visited her newly married son and saw their new refrigerator. She asked, “So you bought the refrigerator?” Pat came her daughter-in-law’s sharp reply, “This is not your son’s money, this is my dad’s gift”. The mother did not say anything more.
I would like to re-phrase the old proverb “pen is mightier than a sword” into “words are sharper than swords”. To emphasize the importance of words, Proverbs 12:18 in the Bible says, “Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.” Again in Proverbs chapter 15 the strength of words is described. It is quite shameful to hear our political leaders using unpleasant words to address each other. Some of us have the habit of giving uncalled for remarks like,” what happened? You put on weight?” or “Your hair has started graying?” or “You look very sick” or “This blouse is not matching with your sari”. Never give negative comments. You can give suggestions if asked.
Teachers and parents often use the words useless, stupid, idiot and others. Can’t you call children by their names? Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much says Blaise Pascal. Another quote goes like, “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate to humble.”
In School, we learn the famous speeches of Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King and John F Kennedy for competitions without understanding the meaning. They are truly motivating, encouraging words. Neil Armstrong’s “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” statement is one of the most inspirational speeches because it was the first words spoken on the moon. Speaking is an art. There are some dos & don’ts. Choose the right words and speak with correct intonation and modulation. When we communicate, we must speak in order to convey the message and understand it. That’s what efficient communication is. Talking well means to talk honestly with simplicity.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words
Watch your words for they become action
Watch your actions, for they become habits
Watch your habits, foe they become character
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny”.