Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Power of Words


When our son, Ben, was a 6th grader, he became known for his love words. In fact, his teacher told us that he went to a big dictionary in their classroom and taught the other kids a word-a-day or something like that.  Yes, he was a quirky kid but what a good idea!

I like words. They have a lot of power. For example, say the word "lemon" a couple of times. Are you now thinking about a lemon, the sourness of it maybe? Are you remembering what it is like to suck on a lemon wedge? Is your mouth starting to get all slobbery wet? See! Words are powerful!

Some of the best words get overused and they tend to lose their power. "Awesome" is the one that comes to my mind. That was a great word and should have been used only when viewing the Teton Mountains or when talking about God. It kind of lost its power when it started being thrown about frivolously. OOoooh... frivolous is a good word! It refers to something of little importance, but it is a big word with strong letters.  Hmm.... interesting.

One of my favorite words in "integrity". It isn't particularly cool sounding but I like the meaning of it...

Definition of INTEGRITY (from Merriam-Webster online)

1
: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
2
: an unimpaired condition : soundness


3
: the quality or state of being complete or undivided :completeness
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Recently I heard a man say that he may not be the smartest guy but if anything, he was a man of integrity. It caught my attention because it is a word I don't hear much, but one I'd used on our boys. I told them both I wished for them to be men of integrity.  Although I don't remember using exactly that word, we expected the same from our daughter. One of my great joys is to see them all develop into adults with integrity.

If "awesome" is an overused word/concept, I'm thinking maybe "integrity" is an underused one in our world today. I'm not going to blab on about all the people we see on television who seem to be lacking integrity. You all know many examples, I'm sure. It is kind of depressing, isn't it?

Here's a challenge, though. Try to think of people you know who do have integrity. When I did that I realized that I do indeed know a lot of people who do the right thing, even when it is hard, people I know to speak truthfully, people who can admit when they've messed up. It made me feel good to realized that I am surrounded by people of integrity.

Isn't that awesome?!