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I may be a throwback, but I enjoy completing the Sunday crossword puzzle. Many of my blog readers are aware that reading is one of my favorite hobbies.  This passion was ignited by my high school literature teacher (who doubled as my football coach), and then further cemented by a college English professor who also loved and appreciated the written word.

In 2010, researchers from Harvard University and Google estimated that there were a total of 1,022,000 words in the English language, and that the number would grow by several thousand each year. According to a blog post in The Economist, the average person knows between 20,000 – 35,000 words.

Citing higher levels of the “language protein” Foxp2 in women, researchers published in The Journal of Neuroscience in February 2013 that the average women speaks 20,000 words each day –  13,000 more than the average male. With the emergence of e-mails, social media posts, texts, etc., how many thousands more words are used every day to communicate (especially by introverts like me)?

Our words matter. However, what is more important than the number of words you know or type or speak is the KIND of words you choose and the purpose for which they are used.  Each day you have the potential either to tear down or to build – to diminish or to encourage.

As reported in the Washington Post, assistant professor of psychology at Stanford University Jamil Zaki, spent years studying kindness; that people imitate not only the particulars of positive actions, but also the spirit underlying them. “This implies that . . . kindness itself is contagious, and that . . . it can cascade across people, taking on new forms along the way.”

We should realize the potential that every human being has to affect the lives of others through their words. Our day-to-day encounters and posts have the potential to change peoples’ lives in a positive and fundamental way.  Truly our words, and the spirit in which they are conveyed, matter!

So, pause and reflect before the next encounter, before the next text or tweet.  What are my words doing?  Are they building? Are they encouraging? Are they moving my relationships forward in a positive manner?

Let us influence those we encounter in a positive way.


Inspired by Nicky Gumbel – Bible In One Year Daily Devotional – Feb 5, 2019


It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away.
-“Words” Bee Gees

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