When considering how to create beauty, we may think of decorating our living room, arranging flowers or setting a table. Maybe we imagine painting a picture or playing a piano concerto. These may all be worthy pursuits, but we can create beauty simply by the words we choose to speak.
One of my goals as a middle school teacher was to create a beautiful classroom environment. I wanted our language arts classroom to be a place filled with lovely words. Of course, the best way to fulfill this goal was to let my own words model what I desired. At one time I had a poster in my classroom that read ~
Before you speak, THINK…
T – is it true?
H – is it helpful?
I – is it inspiring?
N – is it necessary?
K – is it kind?
I admit the poster was as much for me as it was for my students. Now that I’m retired, I’ve noticed my own words have become less admirable. How easy it is to let the words that come out of our mouths create ugliness instead of beauty, especially in a world where toxic language is often the norm. It’s difficult to go through a single day without hearing words that are rude, crude, sarcastic and negative. None of this will ever create beauty ~ for ourselves or for others.
Recently, my morning devotional (once again) seemed written specifically for me. It ended with this prayer, “Lord, please put a guard and filter over my mouth and help me speak only what is edifying, uplifting and encouraging to those around me. Help me to see the good in others the way you do. Help me to highlight that which will bless another heart and make someone else’s day.”
Oh, if I could only do that how much beauty I could create in the world! Like anything that requires self-discipline, I’m taking it one day at a time. Just for today, I will think before I speak and ask myself if it is true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind. §
“Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
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