I have been having this conversation with one of the teenagers – words. Words are really important. We use them to express emotion, ask for information, seek permission, say sorry, to share our stories and to offer thanks. The thank you is such an important part of being human. I remember after the birth of my first child being totally overwhelmed by how many friends, family members and strangers helped and supported us in the transition to parenthood. I was so grateful, so thankful.
Today I am thankful for this man. My man as he celebrates a special day. He is a man of words. He uses language well, to express his mind and heart. And I love that about him. I guess that is a gift we give to one another each day.
Words as a gift.
I got you didn’t I? Colin Firth aka Mr Darcy had you wondering what this blog post was all about. Well it is quite simply how the British communicate. Are you a Brit? Have you ever lived in the UK and wondered about the language, tone and speak of your British companions. We lived in London many years ago, and in fact my eldest started school there. He acquired quite a nice British accent and we had our everyday conversation marked with words like ‘brilliant’, ‘tea’ and ‘you right’. Words that Australians find difficult to accommodate. I made the mistake once of taking my kids to visit a neighbour for tea, thinking it would be coffee for me and chocolate cake for the children. But the kids were served early tea or dinner really. The children sat at table for a meal of fish fingers and chips. Well, who would have thought?
Our time in London was amazing and we found great friends in a very short time. This was quite unusual I am told as the Brits have a reputation for being a bit standoffish.
I know Australians have their own peculiar relationship to language. Our words are at times strained and strange. What have your experiences of British language been?
A picture tells a thousand words. Is she afraid? Shy? Is she being coy or teasing someone? Is she overwhelmed? Is she laughing uncontrollably behind that piece of paper?
I like the idea that everyday our body, our self tells a thousand different stories about our life, our dreams, disappointments and joys. The lines on our face, the colour of our hair, our posture, smile, how we present, our posture and our voice all betray us with unspoken ‘words’.
When we are stressed our body tells that story in our stance, our arms, our facial expressions. If we are angry our voice, our brow, our hands motion to tell of intense disappointment. In moments of pleasure and happiness our body is open, arms wide, we smile with our eyes and our voice is light. Consider what story, what words your body is telling the world today? How does the pain of the last year still seem so present? Perhaps the anxiety of the next few days or weeks is denying you of sleep and you look exhausted. Be honest. Know yourself and the story that you tell today – the one without so many words.
He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles. (Prov. 21:23)I have been thinking about words all morning. My impatient words and response when a child expresses disappointment about what is in the lunchbox. Sibling’s words to each other that are driven by a selfish heart. Seeking words, that are looking for some TLC and attention. And words just used badly – grumbling, speaking back, mumbling, hurting words. Words said in truth but thoughtlessly. Proverbs 12:18 reminds us that “reckless words pierce like a sword.”
As a parent I cannot be with my kids 24/7. There will be other influences and peers have a considerable impact. How do we also help our kids choose friends wisely when there may not be many to choose from? He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Prov. 13:20)
I am feeling in need of help today. My action plan is to be involved with them, listen, really listen to what is happening in their world, talk through their day, pray and ask God to protect them and grant them wisdom and me too.