As the editor of this section for the last year and a half, my opinion has been largely irrelevant. My job has been to foster the strongest arguments of other writers and regardless of how I felt about a topic my duty was to support the individual writer’s work.
To work in the Opinions section has been difficult because I’ve had to withhold my own thoughts, but it has also been one of the most instructive experiences of my life. You see, I had to learn to do what so many of us fail to do on a regular basis – listen.
I’ve had to learn to listen to writers, other editors, advisors and the school community at large. I’ve had to learn to listen to good ideas and bad ideas. I’ve had to learn to listen to praise as well as displeasure. I’ve had to be willing and able to listen to what you as the members of this community have to say, and I have endeavored to make the Opinions section a place where people can express their viewpoints in a constructive and (hopefully) instructive way.
I encourage everyone to continue to use this part of the student newspaper for that purpose. It is, after all, your newspaper. I know that our generation has a propensity for selfish behavior. I am in no way trying to encourage selfishness, but there are things that belong to us, things to which we have a right, and we should therefore be allowed to use them.
With this right, however, comes a responsibility. We are responsible to our schools, our families and the communities which belong to us, to care for and stand up for them. We are responsible for the overall building up of one another. We are responsible for the words and actions that we produce.
Words are powerful. Make no mistake about that. That is why Proverbs says, “The tongue has the power of life and death” (18:21). It would be irresponsible and foolish of us to think that what we say cannot affect people, in both good ways and bad.
We as a community have the power to create or destroy based on what we say. Words can bond groups together or widen chasms. I would encourage everyone, students and employees, Christians and non-Christians, to consider what they say before they say it. Think about the effect your words will have, and use them to build each other up, to instruct each other and to encourage each other.
Remember that long after you leave a place, people are not going to remember how good your grades were, or how many times you scored a goal.
People are going to remember whether you were kind, generous or helpful. Be so. Be kind with your words, be generous in your encouragement and be helpful in your speech.
Remember to build one another up and challenge one another respectfully. Respect will take you far in life. If you learn nothing else in college, learn to communicate respectfully, and most importantly, learn to listen.