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The Power of a Single Word

This candidate for State office condemns President Trump for yet another racist comment and yet another blow to the integrity of the high office he holds.

For eleven years, I served as principal of Black Mountain Elementary School. I loved my job, and especially enjoyed the children, their families, and the people who staffed the school. We weren’t perfect and sometimes we made mistakes in dealing with issues. I know I did. Still, at the first faculty meeting of the year, every year, I exhorted my team with a simple reminder.

I always told the staff that words were powerful. “A single word,” I would say, “can lift a child or crush a child’s spirit.” I said that to my staff, not because I thought anyone of them would deliberately hurt a child, but because I knew that sometimes we humans forget the power we wield in our schools and, most particularly, in our classrooms.
It is not easy to always remember the power of our words. A teacher holds a position of power over their young charges. As a school principal, I was especially aware of the fact that of all people, I was in a position to reach into a child’s heart and hear the why’s and wherefores of their behavior. Let’s face it, mostly when I had a heart to heart with a child, something wasn’t right. It need not have been a behavior issue. It could be a self-reported bullying issue or a worry about enough food at home. It could be anything. Sometimes, I met with children who had their feelings hurt by an adult in the school as well.

Teachers can be very courageous . . . because when they make a mistake, they have such a heart for children, that they will feel compelled to model humility by taking responsibility for the things they say and do, even with the youngest of children.

This week our President once again made foolish and racist remarks. He disparaged a whole continent. He has insulted the island nation of Haiti. In the past he has insulted Latinos, Islamic people, and people of the Jewish faith as well. He has said that Nazis include really nice people. He denigrates people of color. With each insult he delivers, he damages friendships that generations of presidents have built in the best interest of the United States. Even powerful nations need friends in the world.

Clearly no one has ever told the President that his every word is weighed and every word is powerful. Clearly, no one has ever taught him to have the humility needed to take responsibility for the horrific things he says and tweets and give a heartfelt apology.

President Trump is on a downhill spiral. Sadly, this spiral makes both our country and world less safe and more volatile. Apologize President Trump!  Remember that great nations lead, they don’t need to bully. Great nations model democracy, they don’t try to crush the spirit of those who dare to disagree. Remember that according to Christian Gospel, Jesus washed the feet of the poor, he didn’t spit on them. If a man like Jesus understood the power of humility, surely you might look for some of that in yourself.

Remember that every word has the power to crush people or to lift their spirit. Try lifting their spirit. Try honesty. Your road ahead might smooth out and we might become a more unified and less angry Nation.

Bossert for State Senate
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