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Friendship: Articulation

Devora Zheutlin MA, CAS

Many times, the vague good intentions we may have are born from a pure and well-intentioned place. The ideas are idealistic and sweet, but we lack follow-through

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

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Articulation: Using the Power of Words to Promote our Goals

“For living you’ve got to appreciate that words are important. Words are bullets.”

Rav Noach Weinberg ztz”l

One of the most potent and effective tools we have is the power of speech, and especially the impact of words verbalized out loud. Yaffa had a quiet dream that played at the edges of her mind intermittently. She wanted to find out more about the effects of healthy eating on the brain, or even how fruits and vegetables boost your overall functioning. Maybe she’d even publicize it in a concise article to be shared in her school newspaper and offered to others. Perhaps she’d form a health and nutrition club… someday. She couldn’t quite articulate what she wanted to do.


The Danger of “Someday”

Many times, the vague good intentions we may have are born from a pure and well-intentioned place. The ideas are idealistic and sweet, but we lack follow-through. That’s because the ideas we plan to “maybe, someday” do are pretty ill-defined.

A beautiful concept (Pirkei Avos, perek vav) are the Mem Ches Kinyanim, 48 ways with which to acquire Torah. One of them is the enunciation or expression of the lips, meaning, saying the words aloud. In other words, it’s a great idea in life to will something out of your heart and into reality, using words. Think about it: You announce something aloud, an idea that is formulated, spoken and heard by yourself. This idea or statement now has power over you, the speaker, and perhaps over others who overhear you. Articulating a thought has taken it from a hazy possibility right into reality.

Devora Leah felt a sense of readiness. Summer was in full swing and she wanted to seize the day and make a new friend before the new school year started. She wasn’t sure how to proceed, though. Sitting around the pool in her bungalow colony, she noticed a mentor of hers. Suri, her former babysitter of a decade ago, was now a young mother. She was passionate and spoke like she meant what she said. Devora Leah struck up a conversation with Suri and expressed this vague wish for a deeper and more meaningful friendship now that she was entering 11th grade. Suri jumped in with a concrete piece of advice. “Articulate your values, Devora Leah!” she encouraged. “If you want that friend, figure out ‘why.’ Are you lonely? No, you have other friends. Are you seeking someone to hang out with? No, you already have that. What you are searching for is a deeper friendship, to help you truly expand yourself. So say it aloud like a mantra: ‘I want to be great. I am seeking greatness in others.’ Then go ahead and seek it for real!”

Even if you find your concentration faltering when you are reading or studying, start reading aloud. The sound of your own voice has the ability to focus you, and help you hear what you are reading. It’s also a way to prod yourself into focusing and being attentive. (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 702)

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