Surfing Facebook this week I saw this quote and it really resonated with me. We all know this to be true but holding ourselves accountable to constantly monitor our speech must become for most of us a conscious decision. Not that any of us intend to snap at our children but when you are exhausted from working and cleaning all day and they come in, drop their coat in the hall, throw the book bag on the living room couch, forget to take their shoes off tracking mud all over the floor you scrubbed this afternoon, and leave the wrapper from the granola bar on the kitchen counter. Most of us are ready to blow!
Often the impulse to speak harshly depends on your mood or your day. How did your boss speak to you today? How did that client react to you being late for the meeting? Did your husband show gratitude for the meal you spent hours making? Then the kids demand. Did you wash my jeans for tonight? Are you driving me to dance? Can I have $20? Easy to take it out on them without even realizing. I am not placing judgement here. I have been this parent. I am sure if we are honest, we all have. You may feel a little spent, too tired to “watch your words.” However, words have a tremendous amount of power. They have the power to unite nations, build people up, or tear them down. Remember pretty woman? “The bad stuff is easier to believe.”
We as parents and coaches and teachers need to fill our kids so full with positive speech and images of themselves that no one can tear them down. Now I am not saying tell them they are the best at something that they are not … Always be impeccable with your word and speak towards truth and love and you will never go wrong. I also believe that we must adopt an “it takes a village” mentality to make the quote successful. Teachers, coaches and mentors’ words can many times have almost as much of an impact on a developing child as a parent. I know that the many of the values and believes I have come from teachers and coaches. I distantly remember my grade 10 history teacher asking me if I had ever considered becoming a teacher because he thought I would be good at it. My dance teacher started using me as an assistant in the classroom when I was 14 and constantly told me what a good teacher I would be. Due to their words and encouragement I never doubted my ability to teach however the opposite could have easily been said to me and my life would have taken a very different direction. Often it is not what we say to the children or people around us but how we word it. It is called neuro linguistic programming.
Here are a few very simplistic examples of turning negative statements into positive ones: Instead of saying “Don’t slam the door;” say “please close the door gently.” Instead of saying “Stop running in the lobby,” say “Please use your walking feet.” Instead of saying “Stop making so much noise,” try saying “please be a little quieter.”
These are not negative statements that are going to cause a child to go down a bad path but it is just a little change in wording that brings a positive spin on the situation and may perhaps defuse the negative energy. If you want to test yourself try this. Give your self a one week negativity diet. Trust me this will be the most difficult diet you will every take on. No negative thoughts about yourself, your house, your bills, your child’s eating habits, or that barking dog next door. Find a way for one week to turn everything into a positive. Be grateful. Above all be kind to yourself. We parents are working hard and loving our kids. Thank you for entrusting your children to us! I promise to do my best to look at the positive in each child.