Monday, April 07, 2008

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W is for Words

And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
-- 1 Samuel 3: 19

It’s an amazing truth that every word we speak has almost infinite ramifications. No word falls to the ground, but instead falls into a never-ending pond and starts sending out ripples that never stop. One spoken word starts a thought flowing in a hearer’s mind, which starts another thought, which starts another, which then becomes words for other hearers, and the ripples go on and on. Words that I spoke years ago are still, though almost imperceptibly, changing lives and changing the world. This is important to remember as I go about my teaching today. I will speak thousands of words to my students today, and each one will be like a pebble dropped into the lakes of their lives. In small but real ways, their lives will be forever altered by every word I say. At the end of class, their “lakes” will be rippling, rolling, undulating, and flowing in a very different way than at the beginning. Of course, not only my words will have this effect, but every word my students hear today. Any passing remark in the hall will faintly change their inner lives. Any words spoken by anyone will slightly, or perhaps considerably, modify their views of life. It’s a nonstop process, one I should keep in mind today as I drop the pebbles of my words into my students’ lives.

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