Paulo Freire once said: “Human existence cannot be silent, nor can it be nourished by false words, but only by true words, with which men and women transform the world.” This quote challenged my thinking in a great way.
What it means to me
When I hear this quote, two things pop into my mind: current issues and education. I will focus on the latter of the two, but I would like to explain why I think this quote relates to current issues.
There are many current issues I feel can go along with this quote. They are, the fight for women’s rights; the fight against same-sex marriage; the fight against sexual abuse; and more recent, the fight over gun control, specifically in school buildings.
People all over the world are standing up for human rights, and it all started with a voice. Today, with the advancements of social media — and technology altogether — people can voice their opinion in many different forms. People are doing just that, and you can see the changes being made at a fast-pace rate. This, to me, is an example of humans using dialogue to transform the world. However, there is a challenge when it comes to the multiple ways one can voice their opinion, and that is false news.
Since anyone with time and a keyboard can get online and voice their opinion, it becomes hard to detect what is true and what may be false. That word “false” can be seen in my chosen quote. True words are needed to transform the world. So, we must be careful to say or listen to true words, rather than follow false words taking us away from the truth and into dehumanizing hostility.
I believe this quote can also relate to education in a smaller sense, but for me, an important sense. The quote reminds me of my first, varsity basketball experience. My coach, used dialogue towards me that was not true (or at least I didn’t feel it as true words). In the two years I played for him, I was never able to gain a level of trust; therefore, there was no respect between the two of us. The moment I felt he would never have my back when it came to basketball, was the same moment I did not care to play for him. Why did this happen? It was all dialogue.
So, anyway, what this means to me, is the impact a teacher can have on a student through dialogue. This may not be what Freire had in mind when he wrote these words, but that’s what it means to me: helping a child grow to be the best she or he can be through the use of true words.