One of my valued mentors, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin of Jerusalem, points out in his book, The Power of Words that typically, when it comes to grammar, most of us make it a point to do our best to speak correctly.
“You violate no ‘laws’ by violating the laws of grammar, nevertheless you are probably careful not to speak incorrectly. All the more so, be careful not to violate the laws of speech by insulting others.”
“Schools spend hundreds of hours teaching students proper grammar and syntax. At least a partial amount of this time should be spent on stressing the importance of not causing pain with words. Parents who correct their children’s grammar should all the more so correct them if they insult other children.”
Terrific point! While, naturally, we should take care and pleasure in speaking correctly grammatically, how much more important that we take care and pleasure in speaking correctly spiritually? This would mean doing our best to never insult, hurt, bully or shame another person with our words – directly or through gossip – but instead to bring about good feelings and peace.
And how righteous are those parents who teach their children to do the same.
There is both life and death in the tongue; the power to build as well as the power to destroy. One of the biggest destroyers is gossip: negative talk, put-downs, rumors, accusations, bullying (verbal harassment). The harm it can cause – to individuals, families, groups, religious institutions, teams, businesses and society – is immense.
I’ll be doing a one-hour teleseminar on on how to eliminate this from your life. And, while I know YOU don’t have this habit, you might know others who have, or be part of an organization that does. Or you might want to share this with the teachers at your children’s school who are searching for ways to to stop the problem of bullying.
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