Power of Words Project is a national mural project launching in Laguna Beach, California that honors the power of one-word mantras that can unite communities.

Words have tremendous power. Most of us probably don’t think about the impact that our words have on other people. Whether spoken or written, words have the capacity to change lives for good or for bad. A kind word can lighten a heavy spirit or bring about needed change. On the other hand, a harsh word can ruin someone’s day or even cost a life. Words can deepen a friendship, or tear it apart.

The impact of words can be felt in so many ways utilizing endless sources. It is important for schools and teachers to emphasize the impression that words have on students, and to encourage students to be reflective when using their words. Role-play with students, so they can see the impression their words leaves on others. Brainstorm with them to uncover positive and productive ways to handle conflict. 

Words. They can hurt, or they can heal. Below are two lists of words. One list identifies types of words that cause pain when used, and the other identifies types of words that build self-esteem. Challenge your students to focus their language on words that heal.

Words that hurt:

  • Name-calling
  • Rumors or gossip
  • Telling of secrets
  • Words that exclude
  • Put downs
  • Labels
  • Disrespect
  • Slurs
  • Exclusive


Words that heal:

  • Kindness
  • Praises
  • Gratitude
  • Courtesy
  • Respect
  • Compliments
  • Inclusive


Explore the many free lessons, resources and videos with themes of community building and inclusion found on our web sites.