By Lynn Harvey, EdD, RDN, SNS, SNA President 2017-12-30 11:23:29
Speaking From the Heart—and the Mind THE NEW YEAR SIGNALS FRESH STARTS, NEW OPPORTUNITIES AND RENEWED CHANCES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. It’s no wonder this is a popular occasion to establish resolutions for self-improvement. Some may scoff, but I like to take advantage of the momentum generated by the spirit of hope at this time of year. As far back as I can remember, my New Year’s resolutions have included some form of exercise—but 2018 will involve a different type of exercise. I resolve to improve how I exercise my words. Now, this may sound easier than exercising my body but, trust me, it’s not. Researchers estimate we use an average of 16,000 words daily; they come to us so quickly and so often, we may not always stop to think before we use them. And that’s where we underestimate the power of our words, because they can be the most powerful force in the world. We can choose to use this force constructively, with words of kindness, understanding and inclusion. Or, we can choose to use them destructively, selecting words that hurt, humiliate or harm. In exercising control over our words, we can ensure they are used to bring about goodness and light. We have it within our power to use our words to encourage others: students, teachers, principals, co-workers and family, too. It’s a simple choice, but one that requires care and forethought. It means that sometimes we should stay silent, as we consider our words—and the consequences of what eventually will be expressed. As with the development of any positive habit, it will take practice to allow only the best of our words to roll from our lips, especially in uncomfortable situations. But, oh the rewards! After all, consider how often we regret words spoken carelessly or out of anger or pain, quickly wishing we could “take them back.” Now, consider how uplifting it feels to see a child or a colleague glow in the light of a compliment or affirmation. As I begin 2018, I resolve to exercise my words in a way that creates happiness, harmony and the best of humanity. If I am successful, I know that I will be the beneficiary of greater joy and less stress. I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, filled with words that really matter.
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