The Power of Words

“You’re stupid, you will never amount to anything.”

“I never loved  you.”

“You will never do better than me.”

“You’re ugly and fat.” 

“You were the worst mistake I ever made.” 

The power of words.  We as humans don’t really understand the damage that our  words can do to a precious soul.  In the book of Proverbs, chapter 18 verse 21 states the following, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

PowerofWords

Do you even realize the weight that your words hold over an individual? A little girl seeking approval from a parent because she just created what she believes to be her greatest masterpiece.  She eagerly rushes to her father to show him the work she is so proud of.  Her tiny little strokes outlining the face of a person, the whimsical almost Picasso like painting.  Her father looks at the painting, a questionable look appears across his brow, and as she searches his face for words of affirmation, in return she gets, “Oh honey, you should have stayed inside the lines more.”  The little girl walks away, crushed, questioning why it wasn’t good enough?  She will then grow up thinking that anything she does will never be good enough in her father’s eyes.

Perhaps to someone else, they might say, “what’s the big deal?” Her father didn’t say he didn’t like the painting! Ok, try telling that to a 9 year-old who took those words and translated it as “failure,” or “mistake.”  When God speaks, it serves a purpose.  He created us for a plan and purpose.  His words speak truth, brings clarity and direction.  He words never condemn, nor make us feel anything less than we are.  It is no coincidence why there are many other scriptures in the bible that talks about the power of our words.  Look what David writes in Psalms 139 verse 14…

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”

Isn’t it grand to know that your Father in heaven loves you and values you as a person.  Yes, sometimes words hurt and can affect us, but it doesn’t have to dictate the outcome of our lives and how we view ourselves as children of God.

So, let us speak in love and be more aware of how we talk to one another.  Instead of tearing each other down, let us build each other up!

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Got SMAD?

How much time are you spending plugging in to the social cyber world?
How much time are you spending plugging in to the social cyber world?

As I surf the internet to find articles to reference for my research paper (which by the way, is due Wednesday!! ARGGGG!), I come across a strange acronym.  The words SMAD appear across the screen, and I had to give it a second look.  I am perplexed at this strange word.  What the heck is a SMAD, and why does it materialize after I type the words “social media” in the Google search box? I immediately click on the article and there it appears in BIG, BOLD letters….Social Media Anxiety Disorder.  Social Media WHAT? OMG! Ok, now I am beginning to get anxious as I read about the symptoms that are clear indicators that I may be suffering from a mental disorder because of my habitual use of Facebook, twitter, Instagram.  Uh, snapshot anybody?

I panic and I run into my co-worker’s office and with alarming concern say, “Hey, guess what?! I exclaim.  She replies, “What?” “I have Social Media Anxiety Disorder!” She gives me a look like I’m crazy, and we begin to laugh out loud from the fact of the new discovery I just made about myself! Little did she realize that I am laughing at her too because I am not the only one with this disorder girlfriend! LOL.  Ok, now on to some serious business, so what is Social Media Anxiety Disorder, and what does it have to do with me, you and the rest of the world?

Apparently, according to an article by Julie Spira, author of “The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Manners on the Web,” lists 5 symptoms that are warning signs you may have SMAD.  One worth mentioning is #3, “If your cell phone is with you at the dining table and everyone is texting while they’re eating and no one is saying a word, you might have SMAD.”  In other words, if you feel anxious, nervous, or any other type of emotion from SNS you pretty much have been diagnosed friend! How many of you are out with your with your friends either having dinner or just spending time together and they pull out their cell phone to check out the latest Facebook post or Twitter feeds? I remember having a conversation with a dear friend of mine about her habit of checking her device when were hanging out. ” UH, HELLO, not to sound selfish, but is it too much to ask for you to just detach yourself from Instagram for just one moment!”  I was like a child jumping around trying to get her attention because I wanted to play! I was hungry for human contact, if that wasn’t the case, I would have stayed home and spent the rest of my evening on my phone! Face to face contact is so vital to our existence.  Imagine a world where you never see anybody, all senses are lost due to the fact we can’t tear our faces away from our electronics! Sounds like straight out of a Sci-fy movie!

We live in the “Age of information” where everything is available to us at the click, click of a button.  Indeed, with the introduction of smartphones and portable laptops that can fit in our bags, we will never miss out on one moment.  We have to remain plugged in at all times.  We can’t afford to lose out on one given cyber moment! Heaven forbid! Chances are while your out for a stroll or standing in line at the supermarket, you will notice people on their phones as they surf the internet and check out the latest posts on Facebook.  Are we too “absorbed” to even look up and take notice of the person next you? Listen sweetheart, you might have just missed your chance on meeting Prince Charming all because you were so caught up by the latest Facebook post of your Mother’s, sister’s, brother’s, cousin’s, wife who just posted a nasty comment about your Mother’s, aunt’s, daughter’s, niece’s, son.  PHEW! It’s hard to keep up with all the latest and greatest but STOP, and just slowly back away from the device before anyone else gets hurt!

How about taking the time to “stop and smell the roses” or just “care enough to send the very best.”  Believe me, the cyber world will always be there, let’s just hope that it doesn’t make you miss out on some of life’s unplugged moments.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-spira/social-media-anxiety_b_2451439.html

 

A Call for Justice

“On my honor,

I will never betray my badge

My integrity, my character

Or the public trust.

I will always have 

The courage to hold myself

and others accountable for our actions.

I will always uphold the Constitution

my community and the agency I serve.”

Police-badge-jpg

The above is an excerpt from the “Oath of Honor,” and as stated on the IACP website, “that is recommended as by the International Association of Chiefs of Police as a symbolic statement of commitment to ethical behavior.”  Police officers are called to serve and protect civilians.  But, in the wake of police related murders involving unarmed men, how are they failing us as a community? Should we be concerned for our safety? Moreover, why are some failing to hold true to their pledge, breaking the very promise they swore to uphold.

On Wednesday, a Staten Island grand jury made the decision to not prosecute Officer Daniel Pantaleo who was involved in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, a 43-year old unarmed black men.  According to news reports, Mr. Garner was selling “loose” cigarettes.  There were complaints from local businesses and that’s when the police decided to pay Eric a visit but little did the victim know that it would end deadly.  This is the second incident that seems to mirror the verdict in the case of Michael Brown, who was the unarmed black man shot to death by another police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

But one questions remains.  What caused Officer Pantaleo to wrestle Mr. Garner to the ground and proceed to lock him in a deadly chokehold? Social media was all abuzz as videos surfaced on the internet showing the officer pinning down Garner as  he was heard saying, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”  Did the officer hear him plea for his life? What happened in those short moments that Daniel didn’t let loose of his grip? Is there something that the videos did not capture? These questions will remain unanswered.

This has outraged the community and has called for action.  It has sparked anger, protests and concerned not only from the black community, but from all walks of life.  In the New York Times article, “Wave of Protests, After Grand Jury Doesn’t Indict Officer in Eric Garner Chokehold Case,” President Obama was quoted as saying, “When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that is a problem,…and it’s my job as president to help solve it.”

We as people are calling for justice; 

We are calling for proper legal prosecution and adequate punishment for anyone who breaks the law; including officers because they are not “above the law;”

We are calling for racial fairness because everyone is innocent until proven guilty, no matter the color of your skin;

We are calling to an end of young black men dying; 

We are calling for an end to the police brutality.

http://www.theiacp.org

Dear Abuela, it’s me Melissa. Are you there?

Dear Abuela,

How are you? I pray all is well! How was your Thanksgiving? I had a wonderful time with Mom, Dad and the rest of the family.  We missed not having you here with us.  As the years have passed, I notice the hole that is in place with you not there.  The world seems a little less funny, and more quieter without your voice being heard.

I want to apologize for not visiting you more often.  Whenever I am in town to see Mom, she always makes mention of asking me to go see you.  I become uncomfortable at the thought, and I don’t know how to respond.  It’s not that I don’t want to see you Abuela, it’s just so hard to see the condition that you’re in.  I feel that I am looking at a woman who is not my Abuela, but it’s only a shadow of a once vibrant, strong Latina woman.  I swear that an alien life form has taken over your body.  The black, cold-less stare in your eyes as you search my face for an answer.  I want to yell and scream, “give me my Abuela back!” Why you? Life can be somewhat cruel as your dealt with a fate that you can’t change.

I remember when you first starting showing signs of Alzheimer’s.  You would repeat yourself over and over again, or you would just drift off into space.  I wonder at times if Mom is still in denial, I can hear her on the phone as she tries to have a normal conversation with you.  Who is she fooling? Who is she kidding? It’s obvious that you don’t respond.  I hear her insisting, “Mamí, she persists, “say good-bye.”  I want to tell her “STOP, she is gone, she doesn’t know who you are!” I get so angry that I want rip the phone from her very hands.  I know that Mom has to deal with it in her own way.  She talks about how much she misses you.  I feel her pain.  But, unlike me, she is there every week, making sure that you are safe and comfortable.

There was a time that you did come back to me.  I was sitting beside you in the living room.  Do you remember that day Abuela? You had just asked me for the tenth time how old were my two children.  All of a sudden, you turned to me and for a moment I saw life come back into your dark brown eyes, a smile appeared across your face as you assured me, “I remember you, I will never forget you.”  I cried like a baby as the emotions washed over me.  And just as I was going to respond Abuela, just like that…you went away again.

me, my mother and Abuela
me, my mother and Abuela

Abuela, I love you with all of my heart, and if could have one wish, it would be to make this mind-eating disease go away.  I miss your delicious food, your sarcastic wit, the chistès, but most of all, your words of wisdom.

So, good-bye Abuela, until we meet again somewhere between the past and now.  I promise that I will visit you soon.  I won’t be afraid anymore.

Until next time.

Love,

Melissa