Last week we put up a piece by Molly Beauregard. Molly contributes to a blog titled Tuning the Student Mind. Check it out! Tuning the Student Mind offers interesting reading about issues young people are dealing with and their perspectives on life and living. I remember that many years ago a neighbor of mine, who was much older than I, advised me that as I aged I should stay in touch with the way young people think. In that way, she said, “You won’t get stuck in old and rigid thought patterns.” Good advice! The young can keep us current with changing perspectives.
This week we won’t have a guest contributor. I’m here to write our blog and as always I want to write about a phenomenon that interests me, in the hope that it is also of interest to you. Today I want to share a few thoughts about speech. Yes, speech! I’ve been thinking about speech a lot lately.
Speech is the expression of both the heart and mind together. It is a delicate medium and cannot be forced. If we stress and strain to make our speech pleasant or powerful we will come across as insincere and will be ineffective. It is our intelligence and purity of heart and mind that makes our speech effective.
Whether we talk a lot or have a quiet nature matters not. Our speech reflects our inner feeling life, shows our values, and is the foundation of relationships. It is the tool that connects us to the world at large. With proper speech we can turn an enemy into an ally. With hostile or angry speech we can lose a loved one or destroy a child’s self esteem.
Do you remember the program called Scared Straight?
This was a government program in which ex-convicts or former drug addicts spoke to young people who were either on the fringe of trouble or had been in trouble with the law. The idea behind the program was that hearing about prison and the problems delinquency leads to would help troubled youth straighten out their lives before it was too late. There was a good bit of enthusiasm about this program.
Several years after its inception a study assessed the success of the Scared Straight program. Much to the surprise of some and the dismay of others the study revealed that the kids involved in the Scared Straight program had a higher incidence of delinquency than those troubled youth who experienced different types of interventions.
The communication theorists were not surprised at this outcome. You see we reinforce what we speak about. Negative speech reinforces negativity while positive speech reinforces positive behavior. The outcome of the Scared Straight program has been used as a strong lesson for parents. If you want to help your child change in a positive direction encourage her to move in that direction. Keep your speech positive; delete negativity, and you, as a parent, will be successful in helping your child achieve positive goals. Of course, don’t overdo—but use the tool of speech to guide and encourage positive behaviors.
The story of the Scared Straight program is indicative of the delicacy of speech. Attitudes, culture, expectations, feelings—-all are conveyed through speech. Words are similar to hands molding clay and one wrong word can leave an indelible impression. On the other hand, if heart and mind are connected and mind is clear then proper speech will ensue. Proper speech will be the foundation for an atmosphere forming a fertile field for the growth of full potential, love, and positivity in all areas.
Who doesn’t wish to speak powerfully? I think we all have this desire. The Transcendental Meditation technique shaves off the stress we accumulate through daily living. Through regular practice of TM we naturally and effortlessly increase the unity and purity of heart and mind. Speaking usefully is an art that belongs to the contented mind and heart. The TM technique can help us to achieve this contentment, therefore, increasing our effectiveness in the world and our ability to speak pleasantly and powerfully.
As always, Sandra and I wish you happiness, perfect health, and effective speech that brings you a meaningful, powerful and supportive connection to the world.