I heard on the radio this morning that a Florida Atlantic University professor was suspended after he told students to write the word 'Jesus' on paper, throw it on the floor and stomp on it.
My first reaction was “wow that really seems like a really insensitive assignment, but there must be more to the story.” Upon further research there were more details - as there always are. It was an intercultural communication class, it was an assignment on the power of words, and students were not required to step on the words -- only instructed to do so.
But it really got me to thinking about how powerful “WORDS” are. As a child I grew up hearing that I should ignore “mean” words, i.e sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Basically, don’t pay attention to the mean things that people say -- they are just words. But if this is the case, if words don’t really mean anything, then why was there an issue with the assignment of stomping on the word Jesus? What if the piece of paper had President Obama’s name on it? Your parents’ names? Would it be alright at that point to stomp on a piece of paper with words on it?
So how powerful are words and WHY should we ignore some words and not others?