Monday, January 13, 2014


We are preparing to teach a CV writing class Monday night for the young single adult Family Home Evening.  The young adult group are those age 18 – 30.  As I sat in church thinking about our presentation, I pondered about how our choice of words convey different messages to those with whom we speak.  In our presentation we are using a video clip from the internet that has been going around on may have seen it.  It starts with a blind man sitting on the steps begging for money.  He has a sign that says:


A few people toss him a few coins.  A young woman then comes along and notices his situation.  She scribbles something on his sign and walks off.  Now people are dropping lots of coins in front of him.  She later returns and he asks her, “What did ye do to my sign?”.  She replies, “I wrote the same, but different words”.  The sign now reads: 

The end of the video states “Change your words – Change your world”.

Our choice of words and how we speak them make all the difference to those around us.  I have learned that the choice of words, and how they are used in ones CV makes a big difference as to the message given to the reader.  In our CV Writing class we teach how to use power statements in a CV.  These are statements that are not just expressing a skill, (I am effective in negotiating contracts) but giving an example of that skill (I recently renegotiated a three year contract for offsite storage...) and a result of an accomplishment (which resulted in a 18% reduction in costs and an annual savings of $35,000).

I then thought about all the Scottish words and phrases we hear every day.  It is true that the Scots and the English are two people divided by a common language.  When we were in our training session recently in Birmingham, more than once the people in the class from England expressed sympathy for us having to try and understand the Scottish accents.  Our challenge has been to understand all the different accents we hear.  We hear folks from Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow and they all have a very distinct way of saying words and phrases.  And then there are the Irish.  They are different still from the Scots but most are actually easier to understand than many of the Scots.

Some simple examples of words we hear:
Church – sounds like Chuch
About – sounds like aboot
Clerk – sounds like Clark
Water – sounds like waa’er
It does not matter – sounds like “it does nae maa’er”
I do not know – Is said by many as “I dinna ken” or “I dinna new”
I don’t understand – Is said by many as “I dinna kin”

Hogmanay Celebration...
Last week we got together with other missionaries for our “Hogmanay Party”.  We stayed clear of Edinburgh City Centre as they were expecting thousands down (doon) in the centre of town.  They had bands and performing gourps along Princes Street and up towards the Castle.  As we drove to the flat of the other missionaries, we saw many people walking towards town because they knew there would not be any parking in town…and also they wouldn’t be in any condition to drive home after midnight.

Our party was pretty mild.  We ate and played games, ate some more, and talked, and ate some more…we managed to stay up until midnight to welcome in the new year.  We brought in the New Year singing...

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
Robert Burns

For Auld Lang Syne = “For the (sake of) old times"

"Auld Lang Syne"  is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. It is also always sung at the closing of Military Tattoo performance at the Edinburgh Castle.

The song's Scots title may be translated into English literally as "old long since". Consequently "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for (the sake of) old times".

There is some doubt as to whether the melody used today is the same one Burns originally intended, but it is widely used in Scotland and in the rest of the world.

Singing the song on Hogmanay or New Year's Eve very quickly became a Scots custom that soon spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots (not to mention English, Welsh and Irish people) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them.

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