Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Word Power

To say they "had words" would be an understatement. Boy, did they have words. Words like, "auriferous" and "eradicate" and "impecuniously" and "inesculent" and "tropophilous" and "palynological" and "schadenfreude" and "zarzuela" and "pilchard" and "zetetic" and "concinnity" and "epexegesis" and "aleatoric" and "irenicism" and "gallimaufry". For Samantha of Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts "diapason" chimed up and finished her off. For Sean of Muncie, Indiana it was "limn" that painted him out. "Otacoustic" sounded the fate of Aaron of Decatur, Illinois. And in the end no one could take the place of Sean of Aitkin, Minnesota as he successfully spelled "succedaneum" to win the 74th Annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee on May 31, 2001 in Atlanta, Georgia. The English Language may not be the prettiest language in the world but it certainly is multifarious ("having great variety"), and, arguably, the most influential language in the modern world. Why then do people always want to speak French? I know lots of people in this very organization who must be nearly fluent because they are always saying, "pardon my French, Chaplain".

No matter who we are dealing with at a given moment, whether children, subordinates, or even leaders, our choice of words state or imply something very clearly about us and our relationship with the other person or persons to whom we are speaking. The Apostle James said that like a bit controlling the movement of a horse, or the rudder setting the course of a ship, so too, "the tongue is a small part of the body" that can determine the direction of our lives (James 3:5). How we speak and the words we choose to employ affect our attitudes, our actions, our moods, as wells as the attitudes, actions, and moods of our listeners. The right words can steer a misguided soldier toward success. The wrong words can make every member of our homes upset. The course of our day, and ultimately of our lives, can be altered simply by our words.

Where are your words taking you?