By Janice S. Ellis, PhD, Kansas City, MO —
The power of words to effect change is a great tool to improve the quality of our lives when used wisely. How do you see the state or quality of life within your immediate family, your neighborhood, community or city, your state, our nation? Do we see ourselves as islands or do we believe we all are interconnected to a lesser or greater degree?
Do we ever pause to ponder such questions amid the hustle and bustle and daily demands of family and work? Sadly, it is likely that most of us are so hurried and busy living that we do not pause to give a fleeting thought to the times of our lives, let along use the power of words to effect change. Instead, we often go along to get along.
Whether it is the state of the economy, the quality of education available, increased gun violence in our homes and on our city streets, or surprise terrorist attacks where we work, worship, or venues where we gather with friends and family – they are all issues that can be addressed using the power of words in meaningful dialogue.
We must take time to read, listen, think, analyze and come together to act upon these issues and events, examining the potentially lasting impact on our lives, the lives of our children, our grandchildren, and their children. It all can be achieved with the power of words. The power of words to effect change.
We have all heard the sayings, “If you don’t know where you have been, how can you know where you are going?” We must look at today’s events, from yesterday’s and tomorrow’s perspective, and the more we observe, the more we will realize that broad and sweeping changes and conditions develop over time. Many are unnoticed until it is too late because we are not engaged.
Decisions and policies, many of which are far-reaching and life-altering, are often talked about and acted upon long before we see the nature and kind of fruit they will bear – good or bad. More importantly, the lasting impact on the quality of our lives.
The fate of a society is much like raising children. What a child ultimately become is as a result of the kind of nurturing and experiences he or she encounters over time. That is not to ignore that natural events beyond anyone’s control can also lasting impact. But, such events will never excuse or justify our apathy, our silence, and our inaction.
Each of us needs to take time to find a quiet place on a frequent basis (at the end of a day, sitting or driving on a Sunday afternoon) and ponder the long-term implications of what is going on around us.
There are examples everywhere, in our communities, our cities, the nation, and on the world stage, where people use the power of words. History is loaded with examples of both heroes and ordinary people who cared enough to speak up and speak out. They understood the meaning of powerful voices.
The power of words is always available to us. Many have used the power of words to impact and improve the human condition and they knew that meaningful and lasting change would not come over night.
Now is a good time to ask what has changed significantly (for better or worse) over the last 10 years? 20 years? 30, 40, 50 years? How did those changes come about? Was it because of the power of words or was it because someone took advantage of our silence?
The real and overriding question is: What conditions are we willing to just accept, when the power of words could be used to bring about positive and meaningful change?
More importantly, are we willing to speak up and speak out? Never under estimate the power of words to effect change.
Feature Photo Credit: drthermanevans.com