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Gladys Hunt on the Magical Tool of Language

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Stop and think for a minute about the immense power you wield every day.

The post Gladys Hunt on the Magical Tool of Language appeared first on Redeemed Reader.

The Power of Words

Originally published on the Tumblon website, April 14, 2009

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“If you know how to use words, you don’t have to be strong enough to wield a scimitar or have armies at your command. Words are how the powerless can have power.” From Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher

Think about that for a few minutes. Is this true?

I’ve been declaring that words are the magical tools that open up the world of feelings, that carry the weight of friendship, that help you see. That’s why we read to children from the very first to communicate how much language matters. I’ve reminded readers that just as Genesis records that God created a world using words, so we also create a world with words for others to live in. Words are a huge responsibility.

When I read these words by Fletcher I thought about the power in language, of how powerless an immigrant can feel if he doesn’t know the right words, how his lack of words are like having no resources. Or a shy person confronting a bully, too frightened to find words in defense. I remembered how words—beautiful words put together in just the right way—have power to make me weep or to see what I had never seen before.

Mostly I have been thinking about a two year old learning to use words to identify things in everyday life. What power comes from saying something that approximates “water” and ending up with a drink! Even the omnipresent “NO!” is a power statement. Imagine the power of saying a whole sentence. And you may already know the power over your heart when a child says, “I luv you, Mommy.”

This is no great philosophical discovery; it’s an awareness moment. It’s only an observation that may help you slow down a bit and marvel at the wonder of a child learning to talk. It may help you when answering the continuous questions of a three- year-old. And it may bring you to make a visit to your parents or someone lonely, and simply take the time to sit and talk together. Never underestimate what words can do.

© Gladys M. Hunt 2008-10, reissued in 2022 with minor adjustments with permission of the Executor of the Literary Estate of Gladys M. Hunt (4194 Hilton SE, Lowell, MI 49331). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The post Gladys Hunt on the Magical Tool of Language appeared first on Redeemed Reader.

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