Sunday, March 15, 2015

Watching My Words

The girl is very empathetic for a 2-year-old. Maybe it's because she spent the first year of her life crying, but she generally seems to feel empathy for others when they are sad. She's been demonstrating this by patting me (or my husband) on the back with her little hand and saying, "It's okay Mommy, don't cry." It's actually pretty cute.

The other day, though, a new plot twist was added. 
She gave me the customary pat and said, "It's okay Mommy, don't cry. Only babies cry."
At first, it took me a minute to register what she actually said and then my husband and I gave each other that uh-oh look. 
"No, honey, that's not really right. Everyone cries. Mommy cries. Daddy cries. You cry. Everyone cries and that's okay."
I don't want to jump to too many conclusions because I don't know the context in which the statement was said. But, this reminded me how careful I need to be with my words around the girl and also with students. And not just those four-letter words (I've been working on those!) but those words that cut, bite, and sometimes do more harm than the four-letter words.

Our students look to us for affirmation and as a source of confidence. When we say things flippantly to them in moments of frustration, these words stick. We can't take them back. We can't undo the damage. We can't always fix it with a "I'm sorry." I want to remind myself that it is better to just stay silent than possibly say something that could damage a child's confidence and/or the relationship I have with him or her.

On the home front, we are still chipping away at changing the girl's new internal programming. Last night at dinner, she informed us again that only babies cry. 
This was right after she had cried for ten minutes because she didn't like the sippy cup I gave her. 
Just saying.

Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna

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