Howard Coop | Actions Speak Clearly

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Whatever else may be said about them, words are important. They are the building blocks of language, and we use them, many of them, every day. As masons carefully lay bricks or stones in perfect order to erect a wall, we lay words in proper grammatical order to describe things, to express ideas, to convey messages, and to reveal feelings. Yet, there are times — even when we speak in the simplest words to the best of our ability — someone misunderstands what we have said, and to our utter amazement, that person responds with, “I thought you meant to say…” 

Communication is more than merely uttering words in proper grammatical order. Sometimes thoughts, ideas, messages, and feelings are better conveyed and more easily understood through simple action. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American transcendental poet of the nineteenth century, said, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” Then, Edgar A. Guest, another popular American poet of the first half of the twentieth century, wrote in simple terms, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day, …The eye is a better pupil, more willing than the ear,” and he went on to say, “For to see good put into action is what everybody needs.”  Maybe that’s why Patty Hauser said, “I never listen to what a person says, I look at what a person does because what they do tells me who they really are.” Therefore, it just may be that practicing is more powerful than proclaiming, for action speaks louder than words. As Sherrilyn Kenyon said, “Lips and tongues lie. But actions never do.”

For about two thousand years, it has been common knowledge that we are not known “for much speaking,” eloquent though it may be.  We are, however, known by “the fruits” of our lives, that is, the simple acts of everyday life. Words, eloquently spoken, may be misunderstood,  but actions speak loudly and clearly.  They are easily understood. 

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