“Kind words can be short and easy to speak,
but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa
Mother Theresa is one of my favorite sources of wisdom. I quote her often, along with other great prophets and sages that include Forest Gump, Maya Angelou, my grandmother, Hope Shackelford (my 7th grade English teacher), and, of course — Porky Pig. Across the years, they’ve always come to my rescue when I find myself in need of a few short words to express a powerful thought.
The written word must stand alone and communicate everything — precise meaning, “tone” of voice, emotions, level of importance. When you set your words free across cultures and languages, it becomes even more important to choose each of those words wisely, with some care given to the precise message you wish to communicate. Many the marketing team has found their best efforts (and sometimes MILLIONS of dollars wasted to folly) when they discover their “baby” of a product name, their tagline of perfection, does not translate into major world languages and land well. One car company named their new car, did their homework, and woke up to the horror the morning after launch to discover their name meant “broken, cannot be fixed” in a key world language. Of course, my favorite debacle is the sad news that the creative team at Microsoft faced after months of work on BING! (the search engine). They launched it … and the first article headline in retort came back. “BING!?? … Ahhhh …. But It’s Not Google!” Often the written word can stand bare, naked and ugly, glaring off a computer screen or piece of paper, and simply be received as harsh, judging and failing to communicate what the writer intended.
The same is true with the universal languages — those that come without much written form. Touch, smiles, hugs, tears, a look that rises from the soul and speaks through the eyes, images that are captured in every form from photographs to hand-drawn crayola pieces of art from the hands of the three-year old child. Who knew? These do communicate across the barriers of culture, language, diversity, space and time. Mother Theresa knew this … each of these are the language of love. And so effective — whether you simply place your hand on a hospice patient while softly saying — I understand …. or hug that child sitting there with the skinned knees, and tear-streaked face, so she knows — the world is a wonderful place to play. Each of these languages express love, compassion and kindness, for they come from the heart and soul of our being and from that we engage.
Give yourself a small task today to find just one person you can exercise your universal language “muscle” on. Keep Mother Theresa in your mind’s eye and then step back to watch the ripple effect as that small pebble of love you launch into the pool of life spreads the effect through the world.
And I bet you are now thinking — “so what’s the wisdom of Porky Pig?” That’s easy … best way in the world to say goodbye for now, and leave a smile.
“Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-… That’s all, folks.”