Posts Tagged speech

SCSLHA Adopts Say Something Nice Day

The South Carolina Speech Language and Hearing Association has adopted the celebration of Say Something Nice Day on June first as one of its special projects. Thanks to the enthusiastic support of the immediate past president, Dr. Jackie Jones-Brown, CCC-SLP. The association has more than 1,000 members and touches every corner of South Carolina. Their support will go a long way toward our goal of more respectful speech and of creating a healthier workplace.

I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting with old friends and making new ones at the Past President’s Luncheon last Thursday in North Charleston. These folks have dedicated their careers to helping everyone young and old develop more effective communication skills. It is an organization in which I am proud to claim membership. The growth and accomplishments of the association are simply phenomenal.

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Aunt Norma, Uncle Jim and Their Great Surprise – A Family Story

Aunt Norma was married to my Uncle Jim, mother’s brother. She grew up in the area around Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and was very country in her ways. She was fun loving, cheerful and always willing to lend a helping hand. She usually dressed a little too young for her age. Their children, my cousins, went to different schools because we lived in different areas of town.

When I received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Lander University and delivered the commencement address in 1988, my dad had died the year before and my mother was deep in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease. When I walked out on stage I was shocked to see Aunt Norma and Uncle Jim seated on my right near the stage. I had no way of knowing that they would be there. They had never attended any event that involved me in the past. I am thankful that I spotted them and was able to acknowledge them along with other members of my family.

Mrs. Jackson, wife of the president of the university, took them under her wing and guided them through the dinner and the reception. Aunt Norma looked great. Uncle Jim had taken her shopping and to the hairdresser. Uncle Jim was always a sharp dresser. They were truly out of their element, but no one would have guessed. They had never attended anything like this. They did it for me and I know also for my mother and dad. It made the event even more special for me. The Gossetts with their French heritage were always more fun loving than the stuffed shirt English Carnells and this was definitely a stuffed shirt event.

The reception was given by Marvin and Kathy Cann. Marvin and I were roommates at Furman University. My cousin Marion Carnell was there. The library on campus was later named for him. My sister, Jean, and my brother-in-law, John, were there. My speech was well received. It was truly a night to remember. My fondest memory of this special time in my life was walking out and seeing Aunt Norma and Uncle Jim in the audience. It is one of those moments that lives forever.

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Small Talk Isn’t Small

Small talk isn’t small at all. It is the lifeblood of our connection to each other. We all want to feel as if we are connected – part of the group. The questions and comments fulfill that purpose. We need each other to feel whole. A 25 year old nurse said to me this week, “You stay involved. That is important. I hope I will be as healthy when I reach your age as you are.”  I just completed a political survey from Winthrop University. The young questioner asked, “Some people do not pay attention to national events at all. How often do you keep up with national or political events?” I answered, “Daily.”

“How have you been? Did you watch the game yesterday? Have you seen Bob recently? Did you know that Jane is in the hospital? I see that you are driving a new car.” None of these questions or statements have any earth shaking significance, but all of them are important. They tie us together. We are linked in a larger circle. Small talk is not a waste of time. Sometimes we struggle with it. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we should be doing something else. Sometimes we don’t listen to the answers because we are thinking about something we feel is more important at the time.

You matter to me and I hope I matter to you even if I don’t not have a breakthrough solution for any of the world’s problems. Later today a friend will call me about lunch tomorrow. Even later my sister will call. We don’t have anything new to talk about, but it will take about 30 minutes for us to say it. I look forward to her call. I miss it when it doesn’t come. Tonight I will talk to my out-of-town daughter. What a blessing.

It is all small talk. Speak to people when you have the opportunity. You may be their only contact today. Don’t miss the opportunity. You would be amazed at what a difference a friendly hello can make.

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Twelve Days of Christmas – Sixth Follow Through

My sixth of the extended Twelve Days of Christmas came before June 17th which is the date I have chosen for each month. I am happy to report that I did follow through and it does feel good. I have made it half way through the year.

I have marked my 2015 calendar for each of the twelve months as a way of extending the wonderful spirit of Christmas throughout the entire year. My hope is that others will join in the spirit and make it a wonderful time for all of us. It does not need to be a grand gesture. Just make it something simple. Something you will do. You will be amazed about how even the simplest acknowledgement of another person can make a tremendous difference in a person’s life. It might only be a smile, a touch, a note, a telephone call or an email.

Of course, we are free to do more than one act of kindness. Several a day would be nice. Just do at least one or more on or before the date you have selected.

Charleston was hit this week with a terrible act of hate. We have created an atmosphere where it is alright to hate. Much of it stems from the hate speech that surrounds us. If I tell you just don’t hate, what does that mean? If I tell you to say something nice. You have something to aim for. Our speech reveals what is in our hearts. Say something nice to every person you meet. Let’s change the dialogue.

I am writing this as a part of my accountability to myself to remind me to follow through. Follow through on our good intentions is always the test.

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