Words matter. What we say not only sends a message to others about our beliefs and values, but also about the type of people we are. “Is that helpful or hurtful?” “Will that pull people up or push them down?” “Include or exclude?” “Move people forward or hold them back?” There are many ways to say it, but they all mean the same thing: Words have power, so choose them carefully.

Ever play the game Gossip? You whisper a phrase to someone and it gets passed around a circle of people? Of course, the message gets misinterpreted, tweaked, and distorted. Unfortunately, we see evidence of the real-world version of this “he said…she said” game daily – especially through social media. And too often, people perpetuate the “games” by engaging in and forwarding on the misleading and hurtful words of others rather than stopping them.

This is a timely message, given the election on Tuesday. No doubt the outcome will stir up strong emotions in us all. I believe we need to remember that either way things play out, a very large portion of our population will be in mourning. So, when all is said and done, and our future leader is announced, I hope the words we all choose will be based in respect and understanding, rather than in the “nana, nana, boo, boo” taunting game of yesteryear. (Youngsters may need to do an internet search on that reference.)

As my wife once helped me phrase it – I pray our response to the outcome of this election is one that soothes the burn and cools the flame instead of one that adds fuel to an already raging fire.