So I had an experience this past week that made me reflect on how much power there is in the language that we use with others, and how important it is to choose our words wisely. You see, our language, both body and verbal, can instantly affect another person’s mood, or the mindset of a classroom full of students, or a relationship with a friend, or a kid, or a colleague, and it has the ability to shape the overall culture of a school. Using positive, well thought out and well intended language is an essential key to developing strong and lasting relationships, and the lens through how we are seen as individuals and as leaders.
The language that we use each and every day shapes who we are, and has a tremendous impact on those around us. The difficulty is that it takes skill, practice, and courage to think before we speak, and to get the right tone, and to ensure that what comes out of our mouths is actually going to be received in the way that we intended it. Words have the power to crush a person’s spirit or to inspire them to be the best that they can be. Words can change a person’s day instantly for the better, or for the worse, and in many cases we don’t even give our language a second thought. We often say things that have a profound impact on another person’s mood, or their day, or their self-esteem, or how they perceive us, and unfortunately we can all be a little careless with our language once in a while.
Think about the last time that someone gave you a compliment, or used their language to uplift or inspire or validate you as a person or professional. I often joke that I can live on a single compliment for a month, but there’s some truth to that. We all need a boost once in a while, and I wonder how much conscious thought we give to recognizing verbally the positive contributions that others have in our lives. When was the last time that you thanked a colleague, or a student, or a friend for changing your day for the better? How often do you purposefully go out of your way to give a compliment, or to use positive language to inspire one of your students or colleagues? Do you ever think about the body language that you’re using when you have your dozens and dozens of interactions with people each and every day at school? Our language is one of the most powerful tools that we have, but I don’t think we take advantage of the power that it has as much as we should.
I’m asking you all this week to be intentional about the language and tone that you use with others, and to really think about what it is that you’re trying to communicate with your words before you speak. I know that I’m going to be more intentional and less careless moving forward. Take some time to reflect on how you are using your language, and think about how it is being received by others. Does your language inspire? Are you saying what you need to say in a positive way? Are you giving the compliments to the people who positively impact you as a person? Are you using your language to develop strong and lasting relationships? Language has power, there is no denying it, so let’s use our language to unite, and to strengthen, and to uplift…we will all be better for it. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.
Quote of the Week…
Language exerts hidden power, like the moon and the tides
-Rita Mae Brown
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TED Talk – Beautiful New Words
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One thought on “Choosing the Right Words”
Hi Dan. I’m an ex-JIS colleague of yours (2002-2005). I follow your blog from time to time. Good read. Words are golden. We need to think before we speak. Thanks for sage wisdom.