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How We Speak

Last week was a sad week for me. I got a message from an old friend in Canada. She told me that my teacher died. His name was Dr. Ted Blodgett. He was my teacher. He was my professor. He helped me a lot when I was in university. He was a very important man in my life, and he was a great teacher for many, many students. I am glad I was one.

My professor was a very unique man. He was very tall. He was taller than me. He had a huge body and huge hands. He had a big moustache. He loved to laugh, and he was laughing all the time. But he was also very, very intelligent. In my university he was a professor for other professors, and was also famous all over the world. He spoke many languages. He spoke English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Greek, and Latin. He had a huge brain. He was like a giant, but a very, very gentle giant. I think that if you met him you would like him.

It was very interesting to me that my giant professor, who had a huge body, a huge head, and a huge heart, was also very kind to anyone. He could speak many languages, and he wrote many books. He got many prizes, and two times he got a prize from the Queen of England. He was like a rock star, but a university professor rock star. He was never proud. He never talked about all the prizes he received. He was very famous, but we would meet and have coffee together sometimes. To talk, and to laugh. That was a very unique and great thing for me. I will never forget that.

But he told me a very important thing. I am going to tell you the wonderful thing he said.

He said, “We are how we speak”. This is an old French expression. We can think about this idea like this:

“The way you speak is equal to the person that you are.” So, if a person speaks in a gentle way, they are a gentle person. If a person speaks in a hard and rough way, they are a hard and rough person. If a person speaks in a crazy way, maybe they are a little crazy.

Sometimes we are not careful how we speak. Sometimes maybe we say bad things about other people. Maybe we say bad things about a friend, or a classmate. Maybe we should think about that. We all know that talking bad about another person is not good. If we talk in a bad way about another person maybe that shows a dark spot in our own heart. Maybe we should think about cleaning that part of our heart and do something better from tomorrow.

It is hard to be good all the time. It is hard to be perfect. Don’t worry about that too much. If you have said a bad thing about someone, just stop. If you speak too hard, or too rough, or too crazy, you can change the way you talk. Just make a new start.

I hope we can think about the kind of people we want to be. Do you want to be intelligent? You can learn how to speak intelligently. Do you want to be interesting? You can learn how to talk in interesting ways? Do you want to be honest? You can speak in an honest way. Do you want to be kind, helpful, generous, warm-hearted, and good? You can learn how to speak in those ways.

The way we speak is the person we are. I am grateful to my wonderful professor, Professor Blodgett. I am grateful to share this idea with you. Thank you very much for being here today.