“ sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me “.
Games for us as children meant the “play ground” and not “PlayStation”. We had various games that involved verbal and psychomotor activities.
I remember how Bez (one of Nigeria’s greatest musicians, in my opinion), released a song titled “stupid song’, literarily sending us back to the “playground” of the 70’s. Some were really stupid but they kept us busy and entertained.
One of our playground songs goes thus; “ sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me “. I don’t think calling this a stupid song will do justice to it; the words of this song will break anyone’s LIFE! “Words can never hurt me” ke?? Words, I believe, can even break parts that the sticks and stones can never get to. Words have the power to be destructive or constructive.
The power of words is acknowledged across tribes, cultures, religions, communities etc.
The Yorùbá culture, for instance, lays emphasis on the power of words. The Yorùbá “praise poem” or “Oriki” is a play of words that describe the genealogy of a person, place or idol. According to Professor Barber (in her journal,the secretion of Oriki in the material world), Oriki are a collection of strings of name-like epithets that are vocative in nature. The aim of the Oriki is to ‘ginger’ the hearer as he/she is reminded ( regularly) of their progenitor and the exploits accorded to them, with the hope that such persons will achieve more.
Secondly, the Ibo culture of breaking Kolanut, is accompanied by a choice of words which are said as prayers, with the belief that the words spoken will come to pass, hence the resounding chorus of “Amin”, which means “so be it”.
By the proclamation of words people are joined together in marriage. Do you know that just by a husband saying “I divorce you” three times is accepted in a religion as the end of a marriage? Three powerful words “ I love you “ have held families and communities together.
Words have power, yes they do.
THE POWER OF WORDS IN RELIGION
What of the diviners, in our culture? Words are spoken to corresponding deities. The “Babalawo” takes words to “Ifa” in other to get a response.
The Holy Bible, describes God as “the Word”. John 1:1 says, “ In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.
This book tells us that the universe is held by the “word of His power “.
So you see, the concept of the power of words is as old as life itself; Nations, tribes and religions have imbibed and practiced it for centuries.
THE POWER OF WORDS IN RESEARCH
In recent years, journals have published Studies on the power of words as regards healing.
There is the story of a Japanese Scientist, Masaru Emoto (2004), who carried out an experiment on the power of words. He distributed boiled rice in three containers, and labeled them as positive, negative and neutral. Everyday, he directed positive words to the container labeled positive and negative (insults, hate words, scornful) words to the container labeled negative for a month.
He claimed that the jar with the negative label had a bad stench and had turned black while the one with the positive label looked a lot better. Masaru’s research is pseudo-scientific and mere hypotheses, however, there are numerous studies about the effect of words on animals and even plants, there are also articles on the effect of words and music on babies in the womb.
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Socrates had said it was impossible for good doctors to “treat the head itself, apart from the body and the soul “. He explained that the treatment of the soul was by means of charms, “ and these charms are the “WORDS OF THE RIGHT SORT “
There is no doubt that the words we speak have an effect on us , a few years go the university of Harvard conducted studies on the effect of focusing on positive words and images at the beginning of a negotiation rather than the items in dispute . They claim this can trigger the production of oxytocin, which in turn triggers the feelings of wellbeing and love.
Based on the studies so far, the “gospel of positive words” is being preached at management meetings, schools, Courts, Prisons etc .
Your words have power. Words are like seed, when they are spoken, they are planted will grow.
Be careful what you say about yourself, your future, and your children and quite importantly in this season, about Nigeria.
I choose to say concerning my beloved Country, “Las, Las, e go better “
Auntybspeaks.com gud to talk!
Bo Adesoye writes blogs on “issues of concern “ and runs the Auntyb Facebook page and a website auntybspeaks.com.