“Words are containers for power. You choose what kind of power they carry.” Joyce Meyer
One of the most powerful gifts we have are our words. What we say and more importantly, how we say it, has a huge impact on those we speak to. We can all remember the last kind word we were told. Equally, and probably with more clarity and often lasting back years, we can recall the times when words have wounded us deeply.
How many words do we say per day? We speak so much drivel hourly, yet when either consciously or subconsciously, we say something that has the power to hit home to another person, that is when our words can become harmful to the recipient if we do not judge our actions carefully. Of course, there are times when we ‘just need to get it off our chest’ for our own sanity and mental health, no one disputes that inherent need within us. What leads me to write this blog is how our words impact on the young.
Writing as an educator for over 20 years, I am aware of the need for teachers to take heed of how they speak to their pupils. Over exuberant praise becomes meaningless when words like ‘amazing, brilliant, fantastic’ are used in abundance. They are great words but only used with personal feedback; something specific to that pupil will rise the chest and light the smile. Much more than throwaway praise is the realisation that negative comments can be lethal if delivered in the wrong way, by the wrong words and wrong tone. It is these words that do the damage and can sow the seeds of self doubt within the individual.
Educators must learn the skills of communication. It is not a given. Knowing how to impart positive and more importantly, negative information takes understanding of the person, their capabilities and vulnerabilities what their focus will be on. Phraseology is a life skill. I shudder to recall some of the conversations I have overheard between teacher and pupil over the years. In this age of increasingly progressive action towards catering for the mental wellbeing of our students, this is one thing that must be considered.
Learn how to speak – listen to those who can, tailor your voice to the situation, create a suitable environment with your body language. Empathise with the receiver. Once you say it, you cannot take it back. Make every word count.
“Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.” Robin Sharma
Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY