Referring to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as a sound bite might sound blasphemous but in fact it has the hall marks of a well written sound bite: short, sweet, to the point and delivered in just over two minutes. In just over 2 minutes, Lincoln reiterated the principles of human equality. Lincoln’s carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history and lest it be understated, this is the only speech from that day that we are still reading.
Nov 19 gives you an opportunity to expose your children to exemplary writing and to have a conversation with your children that ponders the question: “Which sound bites from today will be read 150 years from now?” A sound bite can be deep and reflective, although that is not always the case. Too many sound bites of today say little and offer even less to think about.
I think Lincoln must have known what Winnie the Pooh came to know: “It is more fun to talk to someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short easy words like ‘What about lunch?’ ” Lincoln and Winnie knew that Winston Churchill was right: Short words are best, and the old words, when short are best of all.