Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Thoughts on words January 25, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Magnetic poetry words I strung together and posted on my refrigerator. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo 2022)

WORDS MATTER. Which we use, how we use them and when. They can hurt. They can uplift. They can communicate a message. They can unite. They can divide. Words are, undeniably, powerful. And sometimes we’re better off not speaking or writing them.

When words are used in anger, in a knee-jerk reaction to something, then the consequences are often negative. “Think before you speak” seems particularly sage advice. Yet, we all forget and fail to filter our thoughts before they slip off our tongues or fingers.

Likewise, I find myself also pondering the depth of words, particularly when asked, “How are you?” More often than not, at least here in Minnesota, that’s a trite question. The expectation is that you will answer, “Fine.” Even if you’re anything but fine. People don’t necessarily want to hear about your problems/struggles/challenges.

But I challenge you the next time you ask, “How are you?”, to ask like you care. And by that I mean pausing, focusing, looking the other person in the eye and picking up on cues that indicate maybe, just maybe, everything isn’t all right. Listen. Take the time to show genuine care without interjecting your story. Empathy is good, but not at the expense of turning the conversation on you.

TELL ME: What thoughts do you have on words, whether written or spoken? What about listening? Is it a lost art?

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling