Language is love. Language is compassion. Language is familiarity. Language can heal. Language can yield so much power- if used correctly. But how? How is it that, a form of communication can be used for so many of those things?
I recently travelled to Canada to help a family member who was in hospital. What struck me the most wasn’t the constant care administered to the patients. It wasn’t the state-of-the-art facilities either. What truly struck me was how language is used in such a setting. Not only how it was used, but what it was used for. Hospitals aren’t the most pleasant of places. Yet the doctors, nurses and other staff were constantly found to be bustling from place to place speaking in hushed voices. Voices that speak comfort and heal. Many people in the hospital that day did not speak English. Many were refugees or immigrants that arrived speaking only what they knew. Yet the nurses made an extra effort to communicate even if they had to sign.
It was beautiful to witness one nurse in particular, who went an extra mile to learn a few words in Arabic in order to comfort her patients. This nurse learned that my sister and I were Arabs, who also speak fluent English, therefore she came and asked us “I have a patient who is a refugee from Syria, I just want to tell her that I am happy for her, can you teach me how to say that in Arabic?” After we taught her that phrase, every time she would come back into our room, she would repeat that same sentence just to make sure she still remembers it correctly and that she is still pronouncing it properly.
I understood that day that a few words, or a simple gesture is truly worth a thousand words. Language is beautiful and it helps facilitate the spread of love and joy. A kind word, and joyful smile go a long way. And it just served as a reminder of the true impact of language.Sarah Tabbara,
Marketing & Sales Executive - Social Unicorn