Monday, June 14, 2010

Words make a huge impact

According to Wikipedia, the range that people comfortably hear and vocalize words is 150-160 words per minute. That translates into approximately 9000 words an hour which could be more or less depending upon your personality. My family and friends would probably agree that I am the type of person that definitely exceeds that calculation often. Words can sometimes be spoken at a rate that might surpass memory. However, at certain times and in certain events there are words that can never escape our memory. I experienced one of those events Friday night at the Lakeville South High School graduation ceremony.

Our son Michael would have been graduate number 445 called upon the stage at the Target Center Friday evening along with the other 444 Graduates from Lakeville South High School. Instead what we held on to were the words of his friend, student speaker Adam Kunkel. The words he spoke about Michael in his speech represented the spirit of our son that lives not only in our hearts but also in the hearts of his friends at LSHS Class of 2010. Once again I am reminded of the significant impact words as well choices makes.

Adam made a choice and a decision to remember his friend in his graduation speech. In doing so we as a family, even if only for a few moments, were spared the loneliness and sadness we were experiencing by Michael’s physical absence. The words used in his speech about Michael embodied his personality, allowing everyone to walk along memory lane with a boy who impacted hundreds, sometimes just by his smile. After the graduation ceremony among tear filled words were long embraces and compassionate faces. Those are the very things that will carry us through this emotional season, having an impact all its own.

What struck me is how similar all of this is to Be the Change in health care. The impact of words and actions chosen by the health care community has a tremendous impact on patients and family’s, completely affecting the medical experience as well as the human experience inside of it. Do you think it is a coincidence that Be the Change began the same year Michael’s high school class graduated? Probably not a coincidence at all; Just another example of hope for the future demonstrated by someone who was impacted and changed. Again we have had the extreme privilege to witness how words and actions impact the human experience.

Congratulations to the Class of 2010 and thank you Michael, LSHS Graduate 445, for inspiring us and impacting the world around us.

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