If you believe in the adage ‘there is certainly strength in numbers’ you might be persuaded to believe that the pen is mightier than the sword. But it is said (somewhere) that a soldier with a sub machine gun could kill a hundred people before he himself becomes vulnerable. That sure is a lot of folks when you stop to contemplate the numbers. So I guess the above question would depend on the context it was a part of. If we could think about it in everyday goings on with no special circumstances attached that would do.
In another life I was involved with training dogs until I found out what some do to ‘train’ their dogs or their clients dogs. What I did learn,though, was that you can ‘train’ a dog to do most anything if you have the patience and the skill. But in this age of ‘now’ many trainers were content to coerce desired behaviour rather than instil desired behaviour. Beat an animal long enough and he/she will do whatever you want it to. It will also go for your throat at the first opportunity. Are human beings that different? If, for instance, the desired outcome was to have a child act or respond in a certain way many parents would threaten, bribe, beat, use negative reinforcement and generally intimidate their offspring until the desired outcome was attained. I guess the thinking is ‘might is right’.
We are reminded of this way of doing things all the time–one country invades another or one country threatens military options if the other guy won’t do as he is told and so on. The fine art of negotiation has been all but forgotten. Blood letting is still the preferred option for too many people unfortunately.
We do see the ‘pen’ used, albeit negatively, in our political system. No one is better at it than the Harper election machine. They use it to spread doubt and fear in people as opposed to telling folks why they are better off voting for them. I guess they have no faith in their own people and this is the only way they can hope to win.
I believe that words–aka the pen, are much more powerful than the sword. If you strike a child , for instance, what you are likely to get back is anger, resentment and a ‘screw you’ attitude. He/she may give you what you want immediately but rest assured you are in for a long haul if you think you have won anything. To make a point trying to get your child (children) to do what you want them to can’t be about power and control or winning. It needs to be about teaching them and encouraging them to learn things that are important for them to know–things that will enrichen their lives, help them be better citizens and things that they can pass on to others. Verbal encouragement is so powerful because it builds a sense of utility in our kids and that is a prime ingredient in their quest for a positive sense of self.
So we need to be so careful what we say and how we say it to our children, to our friends and families and to the folks out there that we don’t know yet. Lets not go to the place where we think that shaming and blaming will somehow spur people on to greater things or the ridiculous notion that reverse psychology will somehow win the day. These efforts don’t do anything for anyone except destroy their desire to do what it is you hoped they would do in the first place. That certainly includes our kids. Folks, generally, do not do well trying to live down to lower expectations.
The pen, in my mind, is truly more powerful than the sword. The skill involved in wielding a sword is much more demanding and what ever is taken by the sword must be kept by the sword. Speaking to others with respect, integrity and honesty is much easier and longer lasting because it helps people to feel good about what they have heard and how they were treated. And it doesn’t cost anything either–bonus.
Please click on the link that I have provided here. This 2 minute video has been around before but I’m not sure that we could see it too often. It’s a couple of minutes long but it’s message could last a life time. As it ends it says “Change Your Words–Change Your World”.
If you want to know more about spreading a positive attitude and doing great things check out a site called ‘Me to We’. Just google it and then go to the wikipedia site and it’s all there.
That’s how I see it anyway, Jim
PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO ANY ONE YOU KNOW WHO MAY BENEFIT FROM IT OR APPRECIATE IT–THANKS–JIM