We are no strangers to the innate need humans have for social connection. Community, social engagement and all the particulars of communication are vital to our successes or failures as people. Words are perhaps the single most powerful entity available in our interpersonal communication toolbox.
In the beginning of Scripture, God speaks the universe into existence and offers Adam the gift of naming his creations. He shares with the Israelites the consequences of speaking his name irreverently, and out of deference they refuse to speak his name at all.
In history, both nationally and globally, we see and feel both the consequences of misused words and the power words hold to heal. As U.S. citizens, we cling to our first amendment right to freedom of speech. We know the personal pain of destructive words spoken by peers or family and the constructive force that words of encouragement can be. It is undeniable that the way humans craft their words is powerful.
In a recent chapel on Feb. 7, the Black Student Association started a conversation on microaggressions in our community. Their willingness to engage in difficult and painful conversations exposes open wounds that have long been guised as scars from injuries long ago. I’m thankful for their willingness to kindly engage the Harding community in a challenging and constructive way. I look forward to the perspective and growth they can offer me as an individual and the rest of the student body, and I look forward to the doors that will be opened and the conversations that will be had as a result of a group of bold people powerfully crafting their words.
Our mission as your Student Association (SA) representatives is to encourage, challenge, engage and foster communication between the student body and the faculty. We have been chosen as a mouthpiece and resource for your — the student body’s — perspectives to be heard. There are significant needs and creative ideas that exist on campus that often go unheard. Your words and ideas have power, and we want to support those of you who have the passion to affect positive efforts on this campus and in this community.
Please seek ways — through the SA or other means — to build and improve our community with your words and ideas. Let us celebrate the power our words hold to shape the world and empower each other to engage in challenging, life-giving development in our interpersonal relationships, Harding network and local and global communities.