In the beginning was the Word…

Words are our main means of communicating, for better or for worse.  

One Way! Which Way?

Sticks and stones will break my bones

But words will never hurt me

Margaret Wheatley writes eloquently and speaks passionately about the power of words to build a community and of human conversation to restore hope for our future.  Dennis Sparks, writing for leaders, knows too, the value of a wisely chosen word to express a point of view, make explicit an assumption, or gain through writing and reflecting, the much-needed clarity for realizing one’s desires. 

As a conversation “host,” group facilitator, leadership mentor, and life coach, words are my “stock in trade.”  That’s why I try to be precise with the words I use.  And now that I’m blogging, I pay even more attention because while I’m “finding my voice” in this medium, I know every word I write enters cyber perpetuity. Together with the nuts & bolts learning curve, it’s part of the reason blogging takes me time and effort.

Sticks and stones will break my bones

And words will break my heart*

So it’s with this heightened attention this past week that I’ve experienced both the “for better” and the “for worse”of words:

The incendiary comment to the well-meaning author of a food-and-all-things-good’n’local blog in response to her remarks about his theatre company. 

The kind and affable fellow who came to my door yesterday asking for a donation in exchange for a pair of beeswax candles, who took that extra moment to share his story about why he gives his time to fund raise in the rain, a story that brought tears to my eyes. 

The misguided question to a dear one, asked with the intention to bring clarity, instead bringing bafflement and hurt.

“I’m sorry for the ‘visceral’ hit you took.”

“Thank you.”

“Thanks, dear one, for your loving patience…”

Here is a YOU TUBE link to Amnesty International‘s video on the power of words to do anything (also featured on Margaret Wheatley’s website):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-M4G5FQKBY

*penned by Robert Fulghum, author of the All I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten

About Katharine Weinmann

living and leading with courage, clarity, compassion and creativity
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