The Gift of Words

I love words. To me they are the pieces that have allowed me to construct the puzzle of my life and to understand and elaborate on the ‘puzzling’ parts of life. They have given me the ability to communicate, to share ideas and feelings, and to do what humans do best—build relationships.

To me words are like musical notes—each with a frequency. And, when strung together in just the right way, they produce a pleasing melody. Languages are simply words spoken in a different key. When I moved to Italy I was tone deaf for a while, not knowing the language, until I was able to learn the foreign notes and incorporate them into my vocabulary. It was a challenging, but enriching experience, as I soon learned that these new words gave me a way to bridge the divide between my own culture and that in which I was living. It was the same when I moved to France some years later.

As we acquire new words we build new pathways in our brains. Memory is improved as are communication skills. Language adds a dimension to our lives that helps us to thrive emotionally as well as intellectually. Children soak up languages and words like sponges. I’ve seen it with my own boys and their friends. And I’ve observed how it’s affected the way in which they experience life. Words, in all of their guises, have helped them speak and move with confidence and ease. But, best, words have allowed them to expand their boundaries in new directions.

I often try to sprinkle a few words in French or Italian into the books I write for children. And I do this on purpose. I consider it a gift to my readers—a seed that just might sprout a new connection within a child’s internal or external world.

A few years back a team of Russian scientists, pairing linguists with geneticists, discovered that our genetic code uses rules of grammar and syntax in a way that closely mirrors human language.  Further, they found that living human DNA could be altered or rearranged through the use of spoken words or phrases. The key to this was frequency, and the team achieved remarkable results using vibration and language, eventually reprograming cells to another genome.

The Russians’ work explains why techniques like affirmations and hypnosis have such powerful effects on human beings. Our DNA is inherently designed to respond to language. It also illustrated why books and reading are so important.

If you think about it, each word has a history of it’s own—how it’s evolved and been used over time. And each instance one of us speaks or reads a word, we add to its frequency. At the same time words interact with our own frequencies to become unique expression of each individual person. Within that subtle alchemy lies the power and magic of words.

So what better gift for the season than a word—or words. And what finer way to do this than by giving a book.

Wishing you all a wonderful and wondrous holiday with plenty of words!