With words we create, entertain, heal, hurt, build, preserve, educate, seduce, inspire, love, celebrate, imagine, remember, contemplate, solve, bond, feel, learn, and grow.
I promise I won’t belabor the point, but any developmental specialist will tell you that language is one of the most critical skills (if not the most) a child can learn. Without it, all other forms of development are stunted.
The right words, strung together in the right way, and delivered at the right time can perform miracles.
They can build skyscrapers, heal broken relationships, comfort the grief stricken, change an opinion, or even save a life.
You know where you find more words?
My god, I hope you discover what super powers lie between the covers of even a single book. There are lifetimes of discoveries waiting for you in their pages if you only have the will to open them and dive in.
All kinds. All genres. All authors.
Read things you like. Read things you don’t like. Read things you don’t understand. Read poetry. Read comics. Read memoirs and fiction, biographies and manuals. Read classics. Read contemporaries. Find words you didn’t know existed. Find out what they mean and then read them again.
It will be boring sometimes. You might struggle. You will feel stupid sometimes. You will disagree with an author. You will be disgusted that something so ridiculous ever got published. You will be inspired. You will be horrified. You’ll be shocked. You’ll be confused.
But through it all you will be filling your mind, your very soul, with the words necessary to connect fully with the world around and within you.
Study other languages. Even if you never become fluent in them, do not forsake them. Every language is powerful and is another tool that encourages the growth of your mind and the expansion of your experiences and horizons. Other languages will open the door to new cultures and maybe even travel.
The words you learn from tongues not native to your own have the potential to be some of the best and most memorable words of your life.
Study dead languages. You can share my Latin textbooks.
Buy a new dictionary.
Find and buy an old dictionary.
Compare the language of today to the language of years gone by.
Read the Bible.
Read Marcus Aurelius.
Read Captain Underpants.
Keep a journal.
Share your words with the people you love. It’s the only way they will know you.
Leave something tucked away for your own children to find one day that—Lord willing—you will read together and share together: a small piece of yourself to be kept and preserved in nothing more glamorous than your own words.
And If you wake up someday and find you simply don’t have the words to describe how you feel or what you want. If you are struggling to communicate the desires or hurts of your heart. If you feel overcome and confused and scattered and raw.
Go to a bookstore.
Take a walk to a library.
Pick up a book and start to read.
Read something good. Read something that grounds you, something that makes you feel centered and calm.
Now’s not the time to seek out more chaos or opinions that conflict or confirm, inflame or condemn. True peace can be found in the words of a simple poem or a light-hearted novel.
Read someone good and soon, I promise, the words will come.
Or… call your mom.