By Del Duduit
When used the wrong way, they can pack a powerful punch.
Chances are you have let the wrong words slip out of your mouth a time or two. We all have.
I can remember one funny instance on my wedding day.
As he made his way through the reception line, a male friend of ours greeted a lady who was waiting to congratulate us.
“I didn’t know you were pregnant,” he said.
“I’m not,” she fired back.
Awkward. And it was all caught on video. We played it over and over. Priceless.
There must be thousands of examples. Some are hilarious, and some ruin professional careers.
Recently, a well known and talented sports commentator was fired from one gig and resigned his full-time position as the play-by-play announcer for the Cincinnati Reds.
Thom Brennaman was initially suspended from the baseball team for something he said when he thought he was off the air.
A hot mic picked up his racial slur live on the air in August. He knew immediately what was going to happen. He was escorted out of the booth. The next day, he was released from Fox Sports, and this week stepped down from a prominent broadcasting pedestal.
Three seconds, and about five words he said, changed his life.
A few weeks ago, I started another new chapter. in my entertaining life. I am the morning host for a local radio station show between 6-9 a.m.
What I say matters.
As an author, what I write matters, although editing is a fantastic invention.
But still, it is not foolproof.
A few years ago, I worked at a newspaper where we laid out the pages, proofread them, and then sent them to the press.
A friend of mine was suspended after a cutline that contained a profanity went unnoticed that described a young player on a local football team.
He put the words there as a placeholder to remind him to find the actual name of the athlete, but he failed to highlight the name.
The faux pas was later noticed and changed, but not until a few hundred issues had already been delivered.
Be careful with them.
Kids who are “husky” are objects of nasty words. I know, because I was one of them in grade school.
Children who wear glasses were called names. I could go on, but you get the idea.
Making fun of someone and saying hurtful words in most cases is an attempt to make up for deficiencies. These actions are often a mechanism used by people to attempt superiority.
Once a word is released from your lips, you cannot take it back. You can apologize and do your best to make up for the insult or goof, but it’s a big matzah ball.
For a person who has integrity and character, blathering the wrong words can damage your reputation.
Here are some things I try to practice daily. I don’t always succeed, but I’m more aware of what I say, now that some friends of mine are listening to my show all over the world.
- Ask God to help you each day if you have a problem. Set a goal not to let certain words come out of your mouth.
- Create an awareness of your surroundings. Notice who is around you, and be aware of your environment. I get disgusted when I’m in a restaurant and people next to me let expletives fly. C’mon, man.
- Become more positive in your thoughts. When you strive to use words to encourage others, you will have an impact on them.
- Ask for forgiveness when you realize what you said was wrong.
- Find one word a day that will help to inspire others. Use it throughout the day.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4: 29 KJV)
The last thing I want to do is shout out something that might offend someone. If I keep my vocabulary positive and helpful, I should be okay.
I am aware of hot microphones, but it might be a good practice to pretend there is in front of you at all times. That’s easy to do in today’s environment, thanks to cell phones.
The point here is to be aware of what you say, and the tone you use. You don’t have to overwhelm people with religious phrases because that can turn someone off. Just be courteous and polite.
Make sure yours don’t hurt.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.