I read somewhere where the average woman speaks 20,000 words a day, and the average man speaks 7,000 words a day. I’m not sure if that’s true because I never believe everything I read, particularly on my computer, unless I write it.
If this is true, who came up with it and how did they get to this conclusion?
I can’t remember any day in my life when I spoke 7,000 words. At least out loud. I probably thought that many words, but they didn’t all touch my tongue.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is a different story. As long as we have been married, I have never tried to count how many words she spoke on any single day. So keeping up is very difficult for someone like me. In its use.
Usually, when she has something to say she says it and it turns out to be true.
A friend of mine once told me that in his church many years ago, he had a woman he described as someone who never entertained an unspoken thought. I’m sure she was a delight to be around. I might know some people just like that.
If I, for example, spoke 7,000 words on any given day, I would be exhausted by the end of that day. So what in the world would I use those 7,000 words to say? And, to whom?
If I spoke 7,000 words a day, that would be about five words a minute for 24 hours. I’m not sure that’s something I could ever do.
Most people have a lot to say, but what they say doesn’t really mean a lot. And, not just politicians.
My maternal grandfather was very selective when it came to speaking. It took him quite a while to get a sentence out, and he never used a word that wasn’t necessary. I sometimes couldn’t understand what he was saying, but he would never repeat himself. But when I asked him to repeat himself, he would just look at me and smile one of his grandfatherly smiles.
Having something to say is very important. The trouble is most of what people have to say isn’t important.
There’s the other side to this: sometimes what I say gets me into trouble. I may be meaning one thing, but the person listening may understand it entirely differently. This has been my trouble throughout the years.
When I’m silent, I rarely get into trouble. When I open my mouth and start speaking, I get into trouble.
Sometimes speaking is automatic, and I don’t realize what I’m saying out loud. Keeping my thoughts to myself has been a hard discipline for me throughout the years.
Recently, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was coughing a little bit, and finally said to me, “My throat is very sore today.”
Not realizing that my mouth was open and expelling words, I said, “That’s strange because my ears are sore today.”
Looking at me, I realized I had said that out loud. I said it out loud so that she could hear it, but I didn’t want her to hear it. Her stare taught me a valuable lesson at that time.
I was now in trouble, and it was because of the words I said out loud.
After being married for over 50 years, you would think I would have mastered the skill of thinking but not speaking. I’m still working on that.
There is also the situation where you don’t get enough words out.
The Pennsylvania Dutch have a saying, “Throw Papa down the stairs…” then they pause for a moment and finish it by saying, “… his hat.”
If you don’t get the last part of that sentence, you may end up throwing Papa down the stairs, which is not what that sentence is all about. I have trouble hearing the whole sentence at times, and because of that, I can’t remember how many Papa’s I’ve thrown down the stairs. (Sorry about that, Papa.)
I have noticed there doesn’t seem to be a direct connection between my thoughts and my tongue. If only they could get together and stay on the same subject, I would not get into so much trouble.
So, when The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is exercising her 20,000 words per day, I can only process 7,000 of those words. So the problem I face is, which words am I going to process?
I have trouble with my 7,000 words a day. I can’t imagine how anybody of the opposite gender can manage 20,000 words a day every day of the week.
To choose the right words, I have to listen to the words that have been coming my way. I don’t always get it right. I try, and I’m getting better at it, but I still fail.
While thinking about this I was reminded of a very important passage of Scripture. “27 He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. 28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:27-28).
According to this, the more a person knows the less he speaks. This has been rather an important assessment of people. It’s the people who are silent most of the time that probably no more than the people that are talking most of the time.
[Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Website is www.jamessnyderministries.com.]