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Are words important?

picture of word hug

We live in a world of words. Words have such power, both to build up or to tear down. Anyone who has been one of my readers for any length of time knows that I am a word person. I love words! Many events in recent days have reminded me of words. First of all was our recent visit with our daughter Megan, son-in-law Jim, and grandson Drew in Michigan. (A few more details at the end of this post....) Since we last saw our grandson three months ago, his vocabulary has absolutely exploded! We can hardly believe all the words he uses now.

This past Sunday we visited a church out of state where the message of the morning was from Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." It was an excellent message on the power of words to encourage, to speak for the Lord and to the Lord, and even to share humor with others! (Imagine my delight!) 😀 One theme in the message was that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:34) Those words that come out of our mouths are merely an indication of what is in our hearts. That principle is repeated often in the Bible.

Words have also been a topic in the political scene this week in one way or another. The other day TOTUS (Teleprompter of the United States) — the machine that feeds words to POTUS (President of the United States) when he speaks in almost any public setting — broke, leaving him literally at a loss for words! A Google search for TOTUS just brought up over two million results, and much has been said about the many inaccurate things Mr. Obama has said (even personal facts about himself and his family), simply because he was reading the words on his teleprompter. I will not go into all of that in this post, other than to mention the preceding in connection to words.

One major event this week is the Senate confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor. Not only are the hearings the usual war of words, but Ms. Sotomayor is finding out personally that the words we speak have a way of coming back to haunt us. One quotation of hers that has received much attention this week and in the weeks leading up to the hearings is "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life." I've been trying to imagine what would be happening to a white male if he had said "I would hope that a wise white male with the richness of his experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn’t lived that life." She's fortunate, though, to belong to one of the groups of people incapable of racism. The trouble is that her statement was not a one-time "misspeak" (whatever a misspeak is!). It was given in basically the same format several different times over several years. (Out of the abundance of the heart,...)

Another statement of hers that is getting attention is that "the court of appeals is where policy is made." (I thought the Constitution assigns that duty to the legislative branch and that it is the duty of the judicial branch to interpret the law. Silly me!?) You can view her saying that at this link on YouTube. For those of you who cannot get to YouTube, I'm posting the clip below. Those of you reading this post in a blog reader may have to go to my blog post to view the clip.

It's been interesting to hear her and others try to explain away her words in order to convince the Senate that she is not a judicial activist with a racist agenda.

I relate those things about Ms. Sotomayor, not to grind a political axe, but to point out that words have consequences, or at least they do for most of us. She has said what she has said, and no one is putting words into her mouth. (Remember, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.)

As a teacher and as a blogger, I speak and write a lot of words. It is a sobering to ponder the responsibility that is mine for the impact of my words on my students and on my readers. Once your words have left your mouth or your computer, you cannot recall them. And try as you may, you can never completely change their impact. A verse that often comes to my mind in connection to this is Proverbs 10:19 "When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." It's important to weigh our words and to leave some of them unsaid or unwritten rather than to offend.

That said, on to this week's iv — several jokes about how and how much some people use words.


A man was giving a speech at a meeting. He got a bit carried away and talked for three hours.

Finally, he realized what he was doing and said, "I'm sorry I talked so long. I left my watch at home."

A voice from the back of the room shouted, "There's a calendar behind you!"


A husband, trying to prove to his wife that women talk more than men, showed her a study which indicated that men use on the average only 15,000 words a day, whereas women use 30,000 words a day.

She thought about this for a while and then told her husband, "Women use twice as many words as men because they have to repeat everything they say." To which he replied, "What?"


In a monastery a new monk took a vow of silence. He agreed to abide by the tradition in this particular monastery of saying only two words every ten years.

After the first ten years had gone by, the monk was summoned into the abbot's office. The abbot nodded, and the monk said, "Food bad," turned, and went back to his room.

After twenty years, the scene was repeated, except this time the monk said, "Bed hard," turned, and went back to his room.

At the thirty year mark, the monk frowned and said to the abbot, "I quit."

The abbot looked at him and said, "Well, it's about time. You've been here for thirty years and have done nothing but complain!"


Once upon a time, there was a prince who for some reason was under a curse. The curse was that the prince could speak only one word each year. However, he could save up the words so that if he did not speak at the end of a year, the following year he was allowed to speak two words. (This was apparently before the time of letter writing or sign language.) One day, he met a beautiful princess - ruby lips, golden hair, sapphire eyes - and fell madly in love with her. With the greatest difficulty, he refrained from speaking for 2 whole years so that he could look at her and say, "My darling." But at the end of these 2 years, he wished to tell her that he loved her rather than waste the opportunity on just those 2 words. So he went 3 more years without speaking, bringing the total number of silent years to 5.

At the end of these 5 years, he realized that he also wanted to ask her to marry him. So he went another 4 years without speaking. Finally, as the 9th year of silence ended, his joy knew no bounds. Leading the lovely princess to the most secluded and romantic place in the beautiful royal garden, the prince heaped a hundred red roses on her lap, knelt before her, and taking her hand in his, said, "My darling, I love you! Will you marry me?" And the princess tucked a strand of golden hair behind her dainty ear, opened her sapphire eyes in wonder, parted her ruby lips, and said, "Pardon?"


This coming Sunday morning I am scheduled to be interviewed on one of our local TV stations WYFF in a segment called Sound Off South! I've been told that the interview will be on the Sound Off South! site later that day. You locals can watch it live between 7:00 and 8:00 this Sunday morning on channel 4. The rest of you can catch it on the site.

We recently took a long road trip to see family in Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri. While spending this past week at Meg and Jim's house, an activity I enjoyed with my grandson Drew was to stroll down the street several mornings to Tim Horton's for coffee and "Timbits," their version of donut holes. Here's a picture from my cell phone of Drew enjoying a Timbit.

picture of Drew with a Timbit

This post already has so many words that I'll stop for now. My wife will be sharing various aspects of our trip on her blog and has just posted about the first leg of our trip.

I look forward to your comments on what I've said about words.


"The ultimate choice you must make concerning sin is that either your sin must go or God must go." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand.

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6 Comments on “Are words important?”

  1. #1 Michael
    on Jul 16th, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    I need to be more concise in what I say. I try to attribute my verbosity to the fact that I’m a teacher and I’m thorough, but many times I just say too much.

    What’s with the picture at the beginning of the post? A little avant garde for you.

  2. #2 David McGuire
    on Jul 16th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Did you hear the one about President Calvin Coolidge, who was often referred to as “Silent Cal.” At a dinner party, a women came up to President Coolidge and said to him that she had made a friendly wager with a friend that she could get Coolidge to say three words. His response: “You lose!”

    .-= David McGuire’s most recent blog post … Transition =-.

  3. #3 Rob
    on Jul 16th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    @Michael – Most of us teachers could probably be more concise and need to keep working on it. As far as the picture is concerned, I found it on Google Images and thought it was a good representation of words encouraging/comforting someone.

    @David – That’s a great one about Coolidge! I vaguely recall hearing that one before, and it was good to be reminded of it. Thanks!

  4. #4 Dave
    on Jul 17th, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    I look forward to seeing you on the news! We all knew you were bound for greatness.

    .-= Dave’s most recent blog post … Maori Ab Wheel =-.

  5. #5 Rob
    on Jul 17th, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    @Dave – Thanks for the words of encouragement. I’m a bit nervous, being more comfortable in front of my classes than in front of a camera. Have a nice trip to Ohio and back.

  6. #6 Kathie
    on Jul 22nd, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Tonight my hubby told me about his chinese student who is from Beijing. He learned that our abridged dictionary has 100,000 words but the chinese language only has 26,000 characters. I guess we love our words!

    My hubby loves to tell stories, so one of our favorite sayings is, “To make a short story long…”

    I haven’t been able to read your blog for awhile, so it was fun catching up on my reading.

    .-= Kathie’s most recent blog post … =-.