"Arthur took a deep breath. Then he held it in. I wasn't sure what point he was trying to get across, but I was relieved when he exhaled and started breathing normally.
"He was teaching me the meaning of the word 'inspire,' which comes from the Latin 'inspirare.' 'Spirare,' he instructed, means to breathe, and 'in' implies into. To inspire is to breathe into.
"The Master of Words explained that when we breathe life into another, we inspire their hopes, goals, and dreams. We breathe life into them, just as our Creator first breathed life into our spirit.
"But when we take the air out of another, we expire their hopes, goals, and dreams.
"So we can breathe life in or suck life out inspire or expire, the choice is ours.
"I was constantly amazed at Arthur's ability to bring life to words, and at the ability words had to bring life to him. Our afternoon sessions would invariably begin with Arthur sitting comfortably in his favorite chair, peacefully relaxing. When I mentioned the word 'inspire,' he became instantly animated, waving his hands and arms as he acted out the definition the very picture of energy and enthusiasm.
"After he illustrated the meaning of 'inspire' for me by holding his breath, Arthur moved on to talk about a related word. That word was 'encourage.' 'Coeur' in the Romance languages means heart, he explained, gesturing at his own heart. When you 'encourage,' you add to someone's heart. And when you 'discourage,' you take away from someone's heart.
"Those who inspire and encourage, Arthur continued, can be thought of as appreciators, those who add value, while those who expire and discourage can be thought of as depreciators, those who lower value.
"Arthur noted that words like 'appreciate' that begin with 'ap,' such as 'approve,' 'apply,' and 'applaud,' generally mean up or toward. And words that begin with 'de,' like 'depreciate,' 'destroy,' 'denigrate,' and 'degrade,' generally mean down or away. Those who appreciate their unique talents and gifts, as well as those of others, create an upward cycle that lifts all in its vortex. Those who depreciate those same talents and gifts spin that cycle in a downward direction.
"In every encounter we have with another human being, we have the profound opportunity to either add to their heart or rip out a part of their heart. Words are the currency in our human exchanges. The skill we are able to develop with the appropriate use of words can give us great power and influence."