Q         Why are actions so much more important than words?          

A:        For family planning fellows, nurse practitioners, doctors, medical and nursing students…

Ralph Waldo Emerson made a wise observation when he said “What you do in your life thunders so loud that I can’t hear what you say.”

Said another way: “Actions speak louder than words.”

This article describes three situations in which what is SAID is far different than what is DONE.

         The two-pack a day father who encourages his two sons and his daughter not to smoke, finds that his words have fallen on deaf ears and that he is both frustrated and angry that his children started smoking even earlier than he.  His anger is directed at his children.  It ought to be directed at himself.             The mother who says to her daughter that she cannot drive if she doesn’t buckle up immediately finds her daughter doing exactly what her mom does. That is, her mom buckles up after driving out the driveway and several blocks down the road.  The daughter does the same thing when her mom is in the car.  But when her mom is not in the car she never buckles up at all.

There is evidence that the Lufthansa owned German plane that crashed in the French alps on its way from Spain to Germany, killing all 150 aboard, was caused by the co-pilot who was seriously depressed.  Depression is a complex disease that can often be treated with good results. Sometimes it takes trials with several medications and often more than one form of psychotherapy before one gets good results. The annual physical exams of pilots are far more careful regarding physical illnesses that could alter a pilot’s ability to fly than they are at detecting serious psychological problems. Lufthansa would SAY that psychological diseases are among the diseases their pilots are screened for annually. Apparently what they DO may fall far short of the mark.


  1. PROPER PRESENTTON OF LARC METHODS always beginning with effectiveness
  2. CONDOM BREAKAGE leading to recommendation that couples use two condoms plus additional water based lubricant after first condom is on
  4. Usually PRESCRIBING PILLS CONTINUOUSLY NOT 21/7, 21/7, 21/7
  6. Referral (and careful follow up of those referrals) for women with SERIOUS DEPRESSION
  7. Informing women seeking tubal sterilization that SALPINGECTOMY IS BETTER THAN OTHER PROCEURES if prevention of ovarian cancer is a goal. (It should be a goal!)


Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH

Emeritus Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Emory University School of Medicine

Atlanta, GA 

Key Words:  family planners, nurse practitioners, doctors, medical students, nursing students, life, thunder, loud, hear, say, actions, words, depression, disease, medications, illness, LARC methods, condom breakage, lubricant, IUD insertion, unprotected sex, emergency contraceptive pills, referrals, follow-up, tubal sterilization, salpingectomy, procedures, ovarian cancer

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