Watching Our Words
Our words become our child's inner voice. Regardless if the story is true, it can influence us the rest of our lives. Without secure attachment, we are left looking for confirmations to the lies we've believed by the actions of others.
"I'll never be good enough,"
"Nobody ever listens to me."
"I'm not ____________ (you fill in the blank) enough."
"Things always end up this way."
"People never keep their word."
"People I love leave or let me down."
"I'm a fake."
What words have I muttered in frustration, ignorance, or fear?
What things have I said that I wish I could take back?
Were there words I should have said, but allowed another to abuse me, take me for granted or run me over?
How can I use my words to build up the children in my classroom?
How can I be an agent of hope, life and connection?
Neuroscience is now teaching us that when we face criticism, rejection or fear, when we feel marginalized or minimized, our bodies produce higher levels of cortisol, a hormone triggered by the hypothalamus causing a fight or flight reaction. Cortisol shuts down our reasoning ability and can cause us to either freeze or appease” according to (HBR June2014). On the other hand, positive comments and conversations produce a chemical reaction too. They stir the production of oxytocin impacting our prefrontal cortex. This feel-good hormone elevates our ability to communicate, collaborate and trust others. Yet, because oxytocin metabolizes more quickly than cortisol, its effects are less powerful and long-lasting. That’s why it takes more positive conversation to overcome the chemical reactions of a negative one.
Children need to hear:
"You are special and capable."
"I believe in you."
"You are growing as you make mistakes."
"I like how you solved that problem."
"I enjoy being with you."
"You are unique and valuable."
"I will always listen to you.
"People can like you exactly as you are."
"You can take a hard situation and learn from it."
"You can't always win, but you can try your best."
"To get better, you need to practice."
"People that love you will come back, because they want to."
"Grown ups make mistakes, too."
"Please, forgive me."
The best thing about teaching is, it matters. The hardest thing about teaching is, it matters every day.
– Todd Whitaker.