Over the past few weeks, in several different ways, the importance of what we say to others has been a recurrent theme. I’m sure if you thought about it for a few minutes, you would remember something that someone said to you that made a difference for you. Sometimes it is the compliment that someone gives you that sticks with you, but just as often, the insult or cruel comment is the one you remember most.
Last week when I was at a principal’s conference, one of the speakers talked about the way in which we, as education professionals, talk to students and how it impacts their belief about what they can do. Children are full of hopes and dreams, and sometimes the comments we make can either spark those dreams or squash them. We need to think about how we can help them to grow simply with the words we use.
Again this week, another administrator and I were having a conversation about optimism and being positive around students. Not the kind of Pollyanna positivity that is fake, because kids can see through that. But it is also important to not be a negative Nancy where everything is a downer. It is important for us as the adults to stay positive and try our best to help support the students we work with.
Even closer to home I had a conversation with my son the other night about hurtful words that a family member said. It wasn’t so much a direct comment made to him, but it was more of a feeling he got that he disappointed them. It was a side comment that was made that was hurtful. I know and understand that feeling. We tend to be a very sarcastic family and there is a fine line between humorous and hurtful. Sometimes it is a snarky comment that goes too far.
Or sometimes it is what is left unsaid that can be hurtful. By not telling people how you really feel and what you really think, you run the risk of them not knowing. As a parent I try to tell my boys every day how much I love them. To the point where my younger son says “I know mom, you tell me all the time.” I would rather him know and be sick of hearing me say it, then him not know, or have to guess. I try to tell them when I am proud of them and when they have done something great. I also try to tell them when I am upset or hurt by something they do. I try to do that in private so as not to hurt or embarrass them.
So today I challenge you to tell your friends, family members, spouse, or someone important to you how you feel. Tell them they are important to you. Tell them you are proud of them. Tell them they are special. Tell them what they mean to you. And know that the words you speak are important to them.