Tuesday, May 26, 2020

#sol20 Do or Don't

"Don't go past this line," I heard myself say as one of my little friends rode his 12 inch bike like he was training for the NASCAR circuit. As the words hung in the air, he continued past the line looking towards me to see my reaction and I heard Peter Johnston reminding me to rephrase my comments in a positive direction. He did stop after a second, louder, strong reminder, but I was left reflecting on my own (and others) choice of words.

I overheard an exhausted mom and dad on a family on an evening bike ride with three young riders.
"Don't ride so fast around the corner."
"Don't go in the road."
I heard an exhausted mom and dad trying to keep their kids safe as they played.
"Don't go there."
"Don't put your feet down."

I remind my students ALL THE TIME that our words matter.  Our words are perhaps our most powerful tool for ensuring the kinds of behaviors we want and for preventing behaviors we do not want.  Yet, perhaps because we are all stressed from the uncertainty of our lives right now and exhausted from trying to stay home, to socially distance, to pay bills, and to be safe, we (that includes me) all need to remember OUR WORDS MATTER. 

So, "Ride up the the stop and turn yourself around."
"You are doing a great job staying in the middle of the sidewalk."
"Pick those feet up so you can go faster." 


Joanne said...

I have been doing the same with our grandson. Working hard to walk away for the word no. Thanks for the post.

Ramona said...

A long time ago, when I taught at a preschool one summer before I even had kids, our director always emphasized the importance of telling a child what he can do. It's probably the best parenting advice I ever received. It's challenging for the adults, but empowering for the child.

Stacey said...

I’m pretty good about phrasing things as a positive, but I needed this reminder today.

Fran Haley said...

How important is this rephrasing to focus on the positive. It made me think how all those "don'ts" can leave us paralyzed: What's left to "do"? A little shifting of words makes all the difference ...