As a writer I am always weighing the power of words and how best to use them. Sometimes I'll write a sentence and spend the rest of the day trying to make it stronger. Just a simple switch in the order of various words or cutting out unneeded ones can greatly enhance the power of a single sentence.
It can become a maddening challenge when I try to get the reader to see or feel the story while also using as few words as possible in my description. Most writers will tell you that they enjoy this art of arranging words into tales for others to enjoy. We'll also tell you that most of the time we think we're terrible at it and no one should ever be forced to read the babble we've spilled onto the page.
But sometimes the most powerful words we read or hear didn't have hours of planning or rearranging behind them. Sometimes we are impacted by a small phrase that is uttered or read at just the right time. We experience a moment of clarity and often remember this moment for the rest of our lives.
A couple of years ago, while giving my youngest daughter a bath, we talked about our upcoming vacation and who we most looked forward to visiting when we went back to Texas. As she started naming off family members, she also said how they were related to us. Her aunts are aunts because they are Mommy's sisters. Nana and Papaw are Mommy's mom and dad, and she went on and on.
Her powerful words came when she talked about her uncles. She said, "They're my uncles because they're your brothers, Daddy."
She never mentioned one thing about them being a different race than I am. It had no bearing on my relation to my brothers-in-law. That didn't mean a thing to her.
These are things that either we, or society, teach our children. I pray that things like this never make a difference to her. I hope she always sees people and the world as she sees them now and that I keep this in mind whenever I try to teach her things.
Or, now that I think of it, maybe she's the one teaching me about the world. Do I see things differently because of how society or my upbringing have shaped me? I hope not. I hope I see people like my daughter does and that things like skin color have nothing to do with how we look at others or our relationships with them.
And if I haven't lived this way in the past, I hope that I always remember my daughter's powerful words.
Things may sometimes look scary when we think about our future, but if our entire generation thinks like my daughter does, maybe we do still have a chance.
Is there a time when the power of words affected you? Share it with us in the comments!
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Have a great weekend!