Words always have power. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget how much power they have.
Recently, I found myself trying desperately to help my 8 year old get rid of some stuff. Specifically, we were paring down the bookshelf. Really, I should say shelves. And piles. And stacks. We are book people at my house. Being a book person creates a problem that goes by the name of storage.
After an hour, it occurred to me why it was such a struggle to get rid of books. Books have always been precious in my house. Loved. Cared for. When I said ‘Get rid of it?” I was devaluing something that has been held in high esteem in his short life.
After changing the phrasing from “Keep or get rid of?” to “Keep or share?” the purging of the books went a LOT better. We cleaned off an entire shelf and several stacks. A couple bags went to my classroom and the rest were dropped off at the local Goodwill. This was really a turning point for me, in parenting and teaching. Although ‘get rid of it’ and ‘share’ had the same end meaning, the way it was phrased changed the thought process.
How many times have I made that mistake when talking to children in my class?
When the opportunity came up to join a book club for the book Choice Words by Peter Johnston. We read the book as a school several years ago, but I’m a different person than I was then and I’m excited to see what knowledge I will gather from it this time.
Have you read Choice Words? What did you gain from it?