Spoken words should be like a silver box with a bow, author and communication coach Florence Littauer told Samford University Auxiliary members at their spring luncheon Thursday, May 5.
"There is a difference between talking and communicating," said Littuaer. "Communication means that what comes out of my mouth, you 'get.'"
Littauer based her remarks on Ephesians 4:29, which encourages persons to speak no corrupt or "bad words," but to speak edifying words that minister grace to the hearers.
"Our words should build up, not knock down. They should make people feel good about themselves," said Littauer, who autographed her books, including Silver Boxes and Personality Plus, following her talk.
To "minister grace," Littauer said, means to receive God's unmerited favor and give it to someone else. Words spoken to others, she said, "Should be like a gift, a silver box with a bow on top."
As she raised her three children, all with different personalities, Littauer realized that what she thought was funny wasn't always so to everyone else.
"I realized I was throwing away a lot of silver boxes. I wasn't using my humor in the right way. A lot of us would be better off if we could stop the words before they come out," she said, asking her audience to consider if they had a family member that they had not lifted up, and maybe even knocked down, with their words.
The luncheon, held annually to celebrate the Auxiliary's accomplishments and investment in Samford students through its scholarship program, featured a visit from 2005 Miss America Deidre Downs.
Downs, a 2002 Samford graduate, delighted the audience by singing "Old Devil Moon" and acknowledging her affection for her alma mater.
"Coming to Samford was the best decision I ever made," said Downs, whose parents are also Samford graduates. She expects to enroll in medical school when her year as Miss America ends next fall.
Samford president Thomas Corts thanked Auxiliary members for their support. "We are grateful for all of those who've made an investment in Samford, and you, through your generous scholarships, have done that," he said.
Twenty Samford students received Auxiliary scholarships during 2004-05. Senior theory/composition major Joel Davis of Marietta, Ga., spoke on their behalf. "It is your generosity that has made our careers as students possible," he told the Auxiliary.
"I have met Samford faculty who have influenced me in profound ways," said Davis, recalling a teacher from his freshman year who instilled a love of learning that will last a lifetime. "You're making a difference in the lives of students, one person at a time."
Next year's Auxiliary officers will remain the same as this year. They are Barbara Price, president; Alta Faye Fenton, first vice president; Martha Walker, second vice president; Becky Griffith, third vice president; Kathy Creed, recording secretary; and Terry Morgan, treasurer.
Also continuing in leadership roles are Marla Corts, executive director; Lolla Wright, executive director emeritus; and Elouise Williams, coordinator.
About 425 Auxiliary members and guests attended the event at HealthSouth Conference Center.