Yup, ya, nope, a huh, like, um, er, ya know, uh, … Sound familiar? This is confused and inaccurate thinking and communication. Teaching children to be clear and precise with language develops strong vocabularies and accurate statements. Accurate and effective words force our brains to describe what we really want to say and to say it using the right words. Require your children to say “yes” instead of “ya” and to add clarity to vague statements. When you hear universals such as always, never, all, or everybody, ask a question that will probe for specifics. Language and thinking are closely intertwined and when we use precise words we minimize cloudy and fuzzy thinking. Being efficacious with our language builds effective thinking skills and helps children to be stronger decision makers, problem solvers, and investigators.
The next time you want to know how your child’s day went and you are tired of the “fine” answer, ask questions related to productive intellectual and personal habits. Question their heart, mind, body, and soul.
- Heart – Who did you eat lunch with? Who did you act kind to? What was an example of you thinking win-win today?
- Mind – What book did your read today? What is the habit of the week? How did you practice math?
- Body – Where did you play at recess? In what way were you proactive? What was the most delicious part of your lunch?
- Soul – Why are you happy today? What was the best moment of the day?
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and lightning bug.” – Mark Twain
“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” – Plato
Speak with Good Purpose!
We have the power to choose our thoughts. Redirecting our children’s language from negative to positive can be accomplished with this simple phrase: “Speak with good purpose”. Communicating directly, honestly, clearly, and with positive purpose will transmit truth, kindness, and love. When words build someone up instead of put them down our relationships become stronger and we are happier and healthier. Just because we might have negative thoughts, it doesn’t mean we have to speak them. If what we want to say isn’t going to produce a positive or productive result, it’s probably not worth saying. Restraining our impulsivity and using our wisdom to turn on the “pause-itivity” button will often turn a bad situation into a good one. Speaking with good purpose is the cornerstone of healthy relationships. It fosters a positive emotional environment where people are happier, more productive, and more likely to succeed.