Friday, April 13, 2012

The Lingering Lesson of Jeff Long? ~ The Power of Words


Words have power.  Combine words with technology.  Kaboom! 

One thing I have learned this week...my words have power....and so do YOURS.


For those of you reading this outside of the state of Arkansas, we have had a little brew-ha-ha here regarding the University of Arkansas' football coach.  Now we can't solve our poverty issue (in more than 50% of our state), or get the word out that it is 2012 and you can't talk to women in a derogatory manner like their "little women", but what we can do....as a one-minded forceful state, mind you....is debate, blog, write, post, argue, call into television/radio, tweet, etc. about a man/coach most of us have only seen from afar or on television.

I digress...

Now, I have been proud of most of what I read late Tuesday and Wednesday regarding people's reaction after Jeff Long's speech, but then (as it always does) things seemed to take a turn...for the worse.  I am a big believer in freedom of speech, but holy cow...who cares what happened behind the scenes?  What the coach did or did not do?  The deed is done.  Move on.  Next.

What we all have to remember is that there is power in our words.  There is power in the words we send out into the universe via technology.  There is POWER.  If you really believe in whatever it is you are saying or posting....own it.  If you are not ready to "own it" then just say no and DO NOT post it.  Because whether you are "sharing" or creating it anew...you post it, and it becomes yours by default. 

Since my induction into Facebook and Twitter, I have tried to be careful.  I cringe from time-to-time by what others post...sometimes I cringe at my own postings, but I have tried to be careful...if not, a little guarded.  I mean who really cares what I think about...well, about anything?

Passion, though, is a funny thing.  Combine passion with power...such as the power in finding your own voice, and well...you could say that I, for example, might be getting a little more...okay, I am speaking my mind more.  Happy?!?  Frankly, I think I am finding my own mind more.  Maybe it is age, maturity, or situations I find myself in more and more.  Maybe it is legacy.

I digress...

Whatever it is, I am learning to respect my own voice, my own power.  I am also learning that I need to be even more conscious of the words I use, with who, and when.  I absolutely hate the idea of filtering myself (those who know me extremely well are smiling now), but I also know that I diminish my power/my voice if my words do not penetrate the minds of those I hope to impact.

This leads me back to my original point.  The posts (power), in the wake of this last week in Arkansas, that have really made an impact (not just on me) statewide are the ones that have been calm, rational, fair, and empathetic.  Those that saw the struggle of the situation, the challenge in sorting it out, and the fight (maybe even against self but certainly against money and power) to make the decision that was best for the greater good/the ideal of the University of Arkansas.  It was not simply about good vs. evil (and I am proud that most did not try to minimize it to that), but it was more of a decision between who we are and who we hope to be...as a person, as an alumni, as a Hog fan, as a university, and as a state.  As an alumni, donor, volunteer, board member, and sometimes a revolutionist against the system that too often pits administration vs. student/alumni.  I have often said, and I have heard from hundreds of other graduates, that I/we could not get into the University of Arkansas of today.  The reason...it has grown, become better, and exceeded our own expectations of so long ago.  In some ways it makes us even prouder to have made it through and graduated.  The university is organic...it changes....while always (you hope) holding fast to the traditions and values that set it apart from the very beginning.  There have been times that I wondered if the gap between the university that educated me and the money/power/sports driven university of today was too vast.  Did we/they have anything in common?  Tuesday reminded me that we did.  Jeff Long reminded me of why I have donated, believed, volunteered, pushed, raised my voice (and my hand) in protest, and learned...because the university has continued to teach me even as an alumni...I did it/I do it because I believe in the power of the University of Arkansas.  I believe that it's power is greater, and the goal of educating people and setting a strong example, is greater than the differences and trials we face from time-to-time.

The voice of one...just one...can change momentum, direction...it can change the world.

"Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination."

Mae Jemison

How are you using your voice?

For me...that is becoming the haunting question...Every. Day.  :)


Note:  If you don't like this post...blame a day in Little Rock surrounded by thinkers, change agents, idealists, revolutionists...blame an evening at the Capital Bar and Grill plotting the takeover of Arkansas (ironically with Jeff Long a few tables around the corner (we didn't know that until he headed out)...blame the fact that I am drawn to people who dream bigger and push themselves further than "the world" says they should....blame the fact that I am a silly little girl who is silly enough to think she might be able to make a tiny difference in this world if she works really hard, dreams really big, and uses her voice (for good and not evil...inside joke)...blame the fact that this Pollyanna believes in the glad game and that everything works for the greater good (not necessarily your individual good)...and finally...finally...this woman believes that if I am not part of the solution, I am part of the problem.  Frankly, I have no interest in the latter. :)))

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

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