A High School Lesson I Remember

During a high school science class, we were asked to conduct an experiment.  My partner and I chose to focus on the effects of words.  It was a rather simple test.  We took two seeds and planted them in separate containers.  We made sure each received the same amount of nutrients – water and sun. 

In every way we treated the seeds similar except for one.  Each container of dirt with a hidden seed received some alone time with us.  To one we spoke encouraging words and told the little seed how happy we were it was planted. We assured it lovingly that it was a beautiful, smart plant and we were sure it would succeed.  To the other container we used harsh tones if we spoke to it at all.  We belittled and mocked it.  The words to this little seed were not nice.

When we came back from the weekend, there was a great difference in our two little containers.  The loved one had sprouted a few inches and stood straight and tall.  The other one did not sprout at all.

I have thought a lot about this little experiment of ours.  It has helped shape my belief that our words and tones do matter.  There is a lot we say that we try to cover with “just joking” but I don’t think it matters.

It’s not always easy to speak uplifting, kind words.  Especially when we are angry, frustrated, or tired.  But that is when we need to check our words before we speak the most.

There are certain words that I have pretty much eliminated from my vocabulary.  I don’t say them in jest and I try to not use them at all.  Even if the person isn’t within hearing range the condemnation is still sent out in the world.  It’s never a good idea.

I’m not perfect at this.  It will be a lifelong pursuit for me.  But I believe it is a necessary and worthwhile goal.

Read this 2007 talk by Elder Holland about this topic.

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4 thoughts on “A High School Lesson I Remember

  1. I have heard of such experiments before with plants. That words and intentions can harm people is clear. That they can harm plants is not as obvious, but I think it is true. Walking through a forest usually gives me feelings of peace. A positive influence coming from plants may be involved in this. The influence seems to go both ways.

  2. Yes, it is said, everyone “knows” at some level everything you think. You and all that you think, are transparent.

  3. Transparent to others more so than ourselves sometimes. Sometimes we are the last to see our own projection.

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