In the world today there are over 6,000 different languages spoken. The languages of English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Mandarin and Dutch are only a microcosm found in the larger world. Through these languages it is found that there is more than a thousand ways to say something as simple as “Hello” or “Thank You”. Words have proven to hold power and meaning as the medium through which change occurs. When people are able to express their thoughts and ideas through the medium of words and language positive changes are possible. Take for instance the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Great Gatsby- “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had”. Fitzgerald’s words can spark a thousand different thoughts. Through this quote it is illuminated that not everyone comes from the same upbringing but that this difference makes us human, thereby to discourage others is to discourage yourself. It is evident that words cause us to think, and those thoughts turn into ideas, those ideas into opinions and opinions into our emotions, our emotions ultimately making us human.
Words from great authors and poets past and present hold the ability to capture a reader, the words they share have the power to spark powerful new thoughts within a reader, some even powerful enough to cause a real change in our world. The medium of literature is something that should be held on to as it is a common recorded form of communication that has lasted and will last forever. The same can be said about the traditions of oral storytelling and public speaking. Words have proven to last and live through generations of people as they have been repeated and shared over time. In Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 55” it is expressed that “Not marble, nor gilded monuments/ Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme/” (Shakespeare 1-2), as he states that the words of his poem will live on forever, while the physical entities of the world will not. Even though Shakespeare is also expressing that his love will stay alive through his words, it is still prevalent that words do outlast the physical world as we know it.
Words are our way of expression; we read, talk, sing and write all through the medium of words. I find it so bewildering how much power one word can have. One may say that “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”, but the truth of the matter is that words have both the power to hurt and destroy as well as the power to build and uplift. Words are a weapon that needs to be chosen wisely and with good intentions. Significant individuals throughout the history of the world are remembered because of their provoking speeches and words shared while still living. Take for instance the words of Mahatma Gandhi- “Be the Change you want to see in the world” or those of Martin Luther King that “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear”. Both of these prominent figures amongst many others throughout the history of the world are remembered not just because of their great impact but also the change they were able to create by using their words to sway others rather than the hand of violence.
As you go on through your week, take a moment to appreciate the freedom words allow us in our lives. Words grow and fade just like every human and we need to remember that there is meaning and worth in every single one.