Tuesday, February 16, 2010

sticks and stones...

As the snow piles up outside, the phone rings. On the other end is Mr. Hummel letting parents know that Boone County schools will be closed again due to the road conditions. As I hang up the phone, I turn to the girls, and with frustration in my voice pass on the information. "Errr.. You guys have another snow day tomorrow. I am so tired of this. I want you guys in school!" The girls cheer as they leave the room. Not another thought is given to the words I spoke.

One of the complications with verbal communication is the distortion of the meaning of the words spoken. Often the receiver constructs a very different meaning to the message than was actually meant by the sender. Words are spoken and misunderstandings occur. Without clarification of the true meaning of the conversation, people often get angry or feelings get hurt.

A few hours after we received the call about the school closing, Emma came into the room looking heavyhearted. "Mommy I am happy I get to stay home tomorrow, but you don't want me here. You want me to be in school all day."

{Insert sound of my heart breaking.}

As I scooped her up and hugged her, I tried to explain that I did not mean that I wanted her at school because I did not want her home with me, but because I wanted her in school so that we could be home together longer in the summer. After a few minutes of cuddles her broken heart was mended and she went back to playing. My heart is still mending!

Words are powerful. They have the ability to build up and the ability to break down; the ability to bring happiness and the ability to cause sorrow. Words spoken innocently in a brief moment can be misunderstood and cause hours of sadness. Diligence in the messages we convey with our words--whether intentional or not--must always be taken.

Because despite the children's verse about sticks and stones... words can hurt.