As the anonymous poem goes:
A wise old owl sat in an oak;
The more he saw, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard;
Why can’t we all be like;
That wise old bird?
Silence they say, is golden;
And a fool who keeps his mouth shut;
Is considered wise;
There is nothing as heartwarming;
As words carefully measured and weighed;
In a tensed situation or a delicate matter;
As the power of life and death lie on the tongue;
And a statement uttered recklessly;
Can crush a spirit, break a relationship;
And even drive nations to war;
Words exchanged in a heated moment;
Are mostly followed by regret;
As we don’t spend enough time;
Assessing them before verbalizing them;
There are only seconds at best;
To come up with words to hurt with other;
As saying sorry is such a bitter pill to swallow;
Why not avoid it all by watching our words?
Make an effort to season your words;
Being a person with few words;
Earns you respect without much effort;
Be a good listener and a slow speaker;
And you’d be surprised;
How many conflicts you’d spare yourself.
Don’t declare your judgment;
When you haven’t heard all sides of the story;
Don’t say more than you’ve heard;
Don’t just speak to fill the silent space;
Speak only when it would be better than silence;
Otherwise, be silent.
Want to be a peaceful person?
Be quick to hear;
Slow to speak;
Slow to anger;
And you’re on your way to be counted;
Among the wisest in the land.
© Josephine Amoako 2016