This article written by Jeremy Springer, Area 9 Finance Advisor & Communications Chair
Words are such a tricky thing. I deal with words on a daily basis as the communications chair for Area 9. I have to find the right words to communicate effectively in an e-mail or to seize your attention in an innovative social media post. I also have to find obscure words to use in business, so I can effectively correspond while remaining indicatively vague.
Ascertaining the right words to use in rehearsal or just before a concert can be especially challenging. You may need to instill confidence in your fellow musicians or show unconditional love regardless of the outcome. When you are in a high-stress situation, words become even more trying to find.
We all know that using the wrong words are easy. Who among us has not stuck a foot in their mouth without even knowing it? When stress levels rise, and words become more potent and powerful – this is when feelings get hurt, friendships suffer, and frustration abounds. The great orators and speech writers will tell you it takes hours, sometimes even months, to craft words into grammatically correct, non-inflammatory works of art. What about those of us who only get seconds to decide what we will say to our choir, our friends, or a room filled with strangers?
I know I have been guilty of using the wrong words, and I know that my words have upset people over the years. However, was it my words that upset people? Could those whom I offended have had situations going on in their life which my words reignited? Could those whom I offended have not thought about the stress that I may be under at that particular moment in time?
Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
I believe you can paraphrase Mrs. Roosevelt to say that no one can make you upset, angry, happy, or any of the myriad of emotions without your consent. I find myself remembering this concept more and more as people practice free speech and even just live their daily lives.
To say that we must think before we speak is true. No one intends to hurt anyone with grandiloquent or misguided vocabulary deliberately. However, when it does happen, I believe we all need to contemplate Eleanor Roosevelt’s words, think about the situation for a moment, and remember we are all friends.
Words are powerful. When someone does let her tongue slip or maybe his lips move too much, we must be willing to forgive and to forget. We need to remember that each of us is human and capable of the same mistake.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton gave us the eternal phrase: “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Words. What a great gift we have. What a powerful tool to possess. What a thing of beauty.