Children and Family

How We Shape Our Message Matters

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This morning, as I listened to those letting the world know the horrible things that happened during the night, what type of weather we might or might not have in Chicago today, and how the political race for this coming week is shaping up, there was one phrase that grabbed my attention.  I’ll confess that I usually don’t really listen to the news – but today, today I was captured by this insight, “how we shape our message matters”.

I actually yelled out, “YES”!  And then, realizing the whole train was wondering if I had lost my mind, I quickly and quietly kept my thoughts to myself.

“How we shape our message matters” lead me back to memories of preschool.  Did you like Play-Doh as much as I did?  I loved taking the various colors and shaping them, molding them into amazing works of art.  I could create a dinosaur, a starfish, a rocket ship or a giant pyramid from Egypt.  My only limit was my imagination.  I think the same is true today but with a different medium – the medium of words.

I think what the reporter was trying to say is that the very words we use when we try to communicate matter – a whole lot!  The phrases we choose, the synonyms we use and what words we link with other words – well, it all matters.  But often we open our mouths to get a point across and don’t really think about what we’re really saying.

Consider this.  As all of us early morning train commuters try to get off the train when it arrives downtown, all sorts of comments that basically boil down to “get out of my way and could you possibly move faster than a snail” are heard.  Some tend to say this far more aggressively and rudely than what I just said.  We all want to get to where we are going, but really, do we have to ruin someone’s day before it even starts?  Do we have to be brash and insensitive?  Couldn’t we just say, “Excuse me, please”?  I guess not.

God has given us the gift of language and I freely confess I have taken the gift of language for granted at times. I have not always thought twice before opening my mouth and with cavalier nonchalance said words I wish I could have taken back.  As a counselor, I’ve had to say in numerous ways time and again that words can kill and destroy a person as much as any physical object ever could and in truth, can often leave someone wounded longer.

How wise the writer of Proverbs: Proverbs 15: 1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but hard words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:4 “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

As a blog writer, I’m finding every word chosen shapes the overall message of the post.  Just writing this blog has made me twice as careful in what I say on a day-to-day basis.  This blog, merely because it exists, is my newest teachable moment.

Dear Reader, today let’s choose every word carefully.  Let’s honor the gift of language God has given to us by choosing carefully the very words that shape our messages and thus, one another.

Until we speak again next time, may our words be carefully chosen to honor the gift God has given us.  Blessings Abundant!  Elizabeth 🙂

2 thoughts on “How We Shape Our Message Matters”

  1. I’d say that at least 50% of my job consists of writing step by step instructions. It’s amazing how few words are necessary to convey a “step” when you carefully whittle away the fluff. Perhaps I can begin the exercise of using as much caution with the spoken word! Great thoughts, Elizabeth. Keep those teachable moments comin’! <3

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