I have this theory that I developed in high school. It is all thanks to a science project I did but I already wrote about the details here. To sum up, I truly believe words matter. Tone matters. Uplifting and edifying words promote growth while negative and insults damn growth. At the end of 2019, I was to share a Sunday School lesson about James. Part of James’ epistle centers on our language. At least, that was my take away from it. Now, I’ve used the example of my science project many times and many people poo-poo it. They don’t trust the results. So, I thought I would recreate it. I set out to prove the results of my high school science project.
There were a couple of inherent problems with this. For one thing, time was a slight issue. Once I decided on the experiment I needed to get busy planting right away. The second problem is I live in Wyoming. Winter is not, as you would say, a growing season. In other words, where was I to find seeds? At that time, the local garden center in the store had been taken over with Christmas supplies.
Fortunately, my sister in law had some seeds left over from her summer’s garden and she let me have a package of radish seeds. Unfortunately, I was careless about this part of the experiment and did not count seeds per cup. Instead, I poured a small handful and placed each handful in four separate cups. I labeled two cups “Good radishes” and the other two “stupid radishes.” I kept the cups together except for a short time each day when I would talk to them. To the good radishes I shared encouraging words with calm tones. To the stupid radishes I yelled and called them, well, stupid.
Much to my disappointment, all four cups had green sprouts after the same amount of time. I realized that even though I talked to the plants a few minutes every day they were all still in a respectful, loving atmosphere. I couldn’t isolate them from all contact.
In an attempt to save the experiment, I subjected the stupid radishes to war and action movies. What I realized with this is while the images were often graphic and disturbing the music was still peppy as an ironic twist. I’m pretty sure radishes can’t see so this did not help my cause.
The time for the lesson came and went and I didn’t get to share my visual object lesson. I had to settle for sharing my high school experiment once again. Although I did share my attempt at recreating my project and the major fail.
Not all was lost, I learned something along the way. I spent a lot more energy during my time with the stupid radishes than with the awesome radishes. It took more out of me to be negative, condemning, and rude than to be positive, uplifting, and encouraging.
Now I had another problem. I had four cups of radishes that were growing and I didn’t feel like it was quite right to just toss them. But what was I going to do with all those radishes during winter?
While I was deciding the fate of the radishes they were placed on top of the cupboard to make room for Christmas dinner. In that spot they were forgotten about until after New Year’s and by that time their fate had been decided. The soil was dry and all the green sprouts were shriveled. Poor things didn’t really have a chance.
I intend to try the experiment again when I can find a way to control the conditions a little more. In the meantime, I still believe in the results of my high school project. Words matter. Tone matters. Be an edifier and encourager.