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Lori Linna column: Reflecting on the power of words

2:53 PM, May 22, 2013  |  Comments
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In honor of graduating seniors everywhere, today is the second in a series of columns devoted to life lessons I have learned since my own graduation 30 years ago. The following has to do with the power of the spoken word.

As a young teenager attending a confirmation class, my teacher made a comment that affected me for years to come. At one point he said, "You guys have it pretty good right now. You don't have bills to worry about, house payments to make or a family to feed. Enjoy it now because this is the best time of your life."

I remember thinking to myself, "What? I don't even drive yet and this is the best time of my life? I'm doomed!" It really bothered me that this person I thought so highly of pretty much indicated that my life was over. It wasn't bad at the time but I was looking forward to driving, going to college, getting married and having a family. Depressed for months, I finally wised up and decided no matter what I do or where I am, it will always be the best time of my life. It was a good lesson to learn at an early age.

Another example happened when my son was 4 years old preparing to have oral surgery. His father and I assured him he wouldn't feel a thing since he would be put to sleep before the operation. The night before the procedure my son came into our bedroom and stood there with a blanket wrapped around his little body, weeping. When asked what was wrong he wailed, "I don't wanna die!" I realized that we had put our dog to sleep a few weeks before and the poor child thought he would suffer the same fate. Hugging him close, I comforted him saying he would be home safe and sound within a few hours after the surgery.

Finally, it is also important to be aware of what one doesn't say that can impact an individual for a lifetime. My regular readers know the relationship I had with my dad was not the best. In the 45 years I knew him, he never said he was proud of me or that he loved me. After he passed away I went through his desk and found every birthday and Father's Day card I had ever given him. It cemented the feeling of what I have always suspected but didn't know for sure - of course he loved me, he just couldn't say it. Eventually I understood why because his own father had never said those words to him. Trying to break the cycle, I try to tell my kids at least once a day that I love them. (Just to be clear, my mother said it every time we kids walked through the house.)

In conclusion, I have learned what one says to others can be just as powerful as words left unsaid.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
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I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
856 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1015 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1271 votes

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports