Posts filed under ‘Language’

Though Sticks and Stones?

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

I have been thinking about words and their power. Rhetoric is a wonderful talent if you have it. When you can take your passion and translate it into speech or prose you will be able to persuade and draw people to you. I am not talking about fancy words and overblown language, you lose your message if people have to concentrate on understanding the ‘words’. Simple words will capture an audience more effectively. When you think back to some of the greatest speeches in history they had a strong, clear and simple message. The language is crisp so that the message is all. I will give you a few examples; they will be familiar to you demonstrating their longevity:-

JFK – And so, my fellow Americans : ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world : ask now what America will do for you but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Martin Luther King – I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Mohandas Gandhi – Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.

Daniel O’Connell – The altar of liberty totters when it is cemented only with blood

Winston Churchill – I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.

There are many other quotes I could have used; I hope you agree that the examples above show language at its most powerful. Words will inspire love and compassion when used wisely. Those who use words well will always capture my attention and imagination, I am a sucker for good words…..

However, there is, as always, another side to words. They can wound deeply and unforgettably, often in the most casual way. I am not talking about swearing, I am quite good at that! For me the cruelty of words is often associated with tone and carelessness, a lack of regard. I have witnessed words being used to diminish and deride, I have been on the receiving end, we all have. To my shame I know I have done the same myself. However, I know that the damage from ill-used words and tone can last, you may think me over-sensitive (I would agree) but I’ll bet that you occasionally hark back to conversations you prefer had never taken place.

I know that words do not cause immediate physical damage, many of you may think this post ludicrous. However, words have an emotional impact and those on the receiving end of too many cruel words will be impacted; this may manifest itself in physical illness. It is your choice to have a positive or negative impact with your words. I hope you choose the former.

The rhyme may state ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me’; I am not altogether convinced. I hope this post gives you pause for thought, I am off to indulge myself by seeing what my favourite raucous, foul-mouthed banter twitterers are up to!

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.


And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

March 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm 6 comments


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