We often are told that being effective in what we do is, in part, dependent on how well we can differentiate between what is important and what is urgent. This is an example of the former which got displaced by the latter.
I started writing this in January 2010 after watching Glenn Beck attempt to show how Progressivists have misrepresented or disconnected history from people today. That particular issue has nothing to do with my topic, nor is this supporting or disputing Beck’s arguments, but I mention it because it provided me with the jumping off point for my thinking.
On at least two occasions in his program Beck said, “Back in a second” before a break. For some reason I counted those seconds and, the first time counted 210, the next one I didn’t count accurately, but estimate that it was at least 150 seconds.
The point here is that we use many words and expressions which do not mean what they say, and when we use them we often don’t even consider what it is that we intend to say … rather we just utter something that expresses an approximate idea that we haven’t even clarified for ourselves.
One of the most frequent terms that comes to mind which is used by younger people is “whatever,” as a response to somehow indicate that no further discussion is wanted. I’m not intending to be critical of young people when I say this, but wouldn’t it be much better to simply say something like, “Let’s talk about something else”? Or, “This topic bores me,” or whatever really expresses the mood of the moment.
If we, ourselves do not take the responsibility of choosing and using terms which express clearly what it is that we want to communicate, why should we be the least bit surprised if politicians, journalists, teachers, children, or anyone are misunderstood or ambiguous.
Like anything else, if we wish to see change in things around us, we must initiate a change in ourselves and if we want others to start meaning what they say, we, too, must do the same and the start to that is to choose words that allow us to say what we mean and to insist that others who are trying to communicate with us do the same.