After five distinct pieces of information came at me today regarding the importance of words we use, it suddenly occurred to me that the message was bigger than just taking it in and moving on. My mind began spinning through memories, thoughts, impressions … and well … words.
The first was a post about a young woman and her daughter. She realized that the way her little girl responds to the world comes from her reactions. So when she stands in front of a mirror with a swimsuit on, rather than talking about how fat she is or focusing on her flaws, she spoke of how beautiful the color of the suit was. Because what that child hears is what she will believe is important.
How many times have you talked about how fat you were in front of your children? Oh, for heaven’s sake! When I think about my childhood, my mother was up and down with her weight and it was always part of the conversation. We walked through stores and she’d point at overweight women and ask us whether they were fatter than she was. Good thing Mom raised smart children … we knew the proper response. But that’s how she saw herself … not the beautiful woman that she was. And that’s what she taught us to see in ourselves. What was truly important was shifted away in the wake of manufactured imagery.
Then I watched an adorable video (link here) of a girl who came out into the garage with makeup on. Her father asks “What do you have on your face?” and without hesitation, the little girl said, “Beauty.”
In Michigan, a Muslim couple invites groups of people they’ve never met before into their home for a meal and open themselves up for questions – nothing is off limits. Before the evening has ended, their hospitality and the ensuing discussions taught a very diverse group of people that they have more in common than anyone realized. The conversation changed them all (link to article here).
One of Max’s favorite actors is Charlie Chaplin. The final speech from The Great Dictator (1940) is powerful, but I don’t know if I ever really paid attention to the words. This video of it being spoken by people around the world … different accents, different races, different genders, different languages … it ripped my heart to pieces. It’s a four-minute video, but I finally heard what he said. If you’d like to read the speech (and you really should), here’s the link.
Finally, one of my contemporary heroes when it comes to words is Seth Godin. He writes daily updates and they are often very powerful. Today’s post from him finally caught me and I realized how many different ways I’d been inundated with the importance of words in just a few minutes. Here’s the link to the post, but I’m going to quote the entire short message here … it’s just that important to me.
How about, just bullets, just diseases, just starvation?
The whole “sticks and stones” canard is really dangerous. When a stone gives you a bruise, it’s entirely possible you will completely heal. But when a torrent of words undermine your view of what’s possible, you might never recover.
Words matter. They can open doors, light a way and make a difference.”
– Seth Godin
Do you remember that song you learned in Sunday School – O Be Careful, Little Eyes? (tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands)
One verse came flying into my mind as I typed today:
Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say,
Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say,
For the Father up above, Is looking down in love,
So be careful little mouth what you say.
Book 18 is nearly finished. I wrote nearly seven thousand words last night in order to catch up to my self-imposed deadline – first draft will be finished tonight. This next week will be long hours of ripping it apart to deal with all of the holes and errors I created along the way. But it will be put back together and come out a much better story.
As much as I love the writing part, this is when it starts getting fun for me. Because I love creating order from chaos (my entire life is chaos), there’s nothing more wonderful than seeing all of the broken pieces line up to create the story that I’d intended.
This afternoon I MUST start working on the title and book cover. There’s a newsletter coming out on Thursday and I can’t wait to share what’s been going on. Be sure you’ve signed up so you miss nothing!