Most of us have had the experience of skipping stones. The objective is to see how many times a stone will graze the surface of the water, and then skip on to hit again and again, before it finally sinks into the depths. We've watched, mesmerized, as concentric circles formed when the stone finally hit for the last time.
I recently came across the statement, "Our deeds are like stones cast into the pool of time: though they themselves may disappear, their ripples extend to eternity." This is a sobering idea - that what we say and do can have a lasting effect, an effect that can continue beyond our own lifespan.
As children we used to say, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me." As adults we know that an unkind word can hurt, a casual cutting remark, a deliberate slight, the repeating of gossip, can all cause pain. Conversely, a heartfelt compliment, a word of encouragement, a pat on the back can boost another's confidence.
We may think that, like the girl in the British film, we have a "Little Voice." But even little voices can command attention if they speak the truth and if their words convey meaning that resonates with the listener. Many little voices, joined together, can make a difference. Many hands joined together for a worthy cause can produce amazing results.
In this New Year let us choose our words and deeds carefully.