We cleaned out the shed last Saturday and found a couple of my old school papers. This one brought back memories!
Back when I was 17, Dad and I were having a debate over some forgotten topic. I was frustrated and felt he was misrepresenting what I had said. “But that’s not what I meant!” His reply was one that I thought I heard far too often: “Really? Well then, I want you to write me a paper…” As usual, he provided the title, and I did the rest.
Here is the result, which I typed up on Dad’s new-fangled word processor nearly 20 years ago.
The Need for Proper Communication
by Kimberly Brown
March 21, 1990
What is the need for proper communication?
The dictionary defines communication as “the imparting of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing or signs.”
Though oration (i.e., communication by speech) requires some additional skills, communication in general is simply the application of reading and writing, two of the three basic skills taught in education. Without a proper education it is nearly impossible to communicate well. Without an instructor capable of effective communication, it is just as hard to acquire a good education. However, with a good education and some effort, almost anyone can learn to communicate well. Since communication is both a prerequisite to and a result of education, the two might be considered mutually dependent.
Now we know by definition that communication is the interchange of ideas or information, but the question remains: Why do we need to be able to communicate effectively? That could best be answered from the Scriptures: First Peter 3:15 say, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that lies within you.” Similiarly, the Psalmist declares that he will “speak of the testimonies of God before kings and will not be ashamed.” [Ps. 119:46] Surely a witness before either peers or royalty should have at his command the ability to skillfully reveal the basis of his faith.
One called upon to defend his faith would do well to take as an example the apostle Paul. Being a lawyer, Paul’s profession was communication. In this he excelled, and he eloquently answers for his own faith and exhorts others to similar faith many times in the book of Acts and in his letters to the churches.
Since God has blessed us with a written revelation, it seems our duty to develop to the greatest possible extent our ability to understand, act upon, and transmit the information contained in His Word. The Great Commission demands communication; To go back even farther, how could we more effectively subdue, replenish, and have dominion over the earth. Acquiring a good education would better enable us to understand God’s revealed will and the workings of the world around us. Remember, only through another’s ability to communicate can a person obtain an education.
Inseparable from today’s education crisis is the appalling state of communication in America. The average “literate” American can hardly complete a grammatically correct sentence, let alone employ the tools and skills required to express himself clearly. But it hasn’t always been that way; The literary works of early America witness to a different approach to education.
The widely used McGuffey Readers put great emphasis upon such unheard-of skills as articulation, accent, enunciation, inflection, and careful pronunciation; the speed, quality, pitch and force of one’s voice; and proper expression and rhythm in reading both poetry and prose. All this came as the child was learning to read, not later in courses for especially motivated students. These skills, in addition to a wide vocabulary, the ability to connect thoughts smoothly and flutently, and basic arithmetic all combined to form what was then considered the most rudimentary education.
As the early Americans must have known, the best way to improve communication is through practice. Compositions, essays and reports were frequently required and were often presented orally. Although this is still practiced to some degree, in many cases the teacher’s own ability to communicate is so inadequate that he or she cannot intelligently criticize the student’s work.
The solution is in the home. Both the reasons for and methods of communication must be taught from the beginning. President Lincoln is said to have begun with the Bible as his textbook, and he is legendary for his talents of communication. Defense of the faith and spreading the Gospel are together one lifelong duty presenting a need for proper communication. That ability must be developed and exercised throughout life, from the first words uttered to the last.