Words have power. Words can build up ... and words can tear down. I know, because I've been on the giving and receiving end of both kinds of words. When I look back at the times that I've used words to tear down, I cringe.
One of the most egregious examples of words being used to tear down occurred between a grandfather and his 20-something-year-old grandson. The grandson was struggling to lose weight. At the same time, he wanted to marry and start a family.
His grandfather said, "Look for an ugly girl. She'll be so grateful for the attention that she won't care about your weight."
I wondered then as I wonder now what was the grandfather's motivation in saying those words. It certainly was not to build up his grandson. And why say it at all?
I offer this alternative to Mrs. Roosevelt's counsel: If you're tempted to say something, ask yourself: is it nice, is it true, is it necessary?
The grandfather's words weren't nice, they weren't true, and they certainly weren't necessary.
Joy for today: using words to build up.