Of COURSE words matter. Duh.

I have spent nearly 20 years guiding, coaching, encouraging, modeling AND reminding pre-teens and teens of this….words matter.  No one will EVER convince me otherwise. #wordsmatter

Words matter because they can hurt.

Words matter because they can inspire.

Words matter because they can escalate anger.

Words matter because they can guide.

Words matter because they can diminish.

Words matter because they can elevate.

Words matter because they can crush a soul.

Words matter because they can warm a heart.

Words matter because they can divide a nation.

Words matter because they can bring civility to a situation.

Last night’s debate took a tangible turn when candidates were asked to put into words a compliment about the other.  They had to use their words to find the good in each other…I felt my shoulders (that had been hunched up by my ears for the previous 90 minutes) soften.  I relaxed for a brief moment knowing that now, finally, I didn’t have to brace myself for the next insult, disparaging remark or snide innuendo.  The candidates were forced to choose words that focused on a positive rather than a negative.  I exhaled.

I will be with teens all week either working on college essays and applications, talking about boarding schools or organizing and focusing their minds to attain goals they have set for themselves in school and in life.  The debate will come up – everything always comes up.  Why?  Because they want to talk to someone with whom they know their words matter.  I will listen.  I will let them say their opinions.  I will gently guide them to be careful when articulating their arguments.

And then I will point out the end of the debate.

I will pull it up on my laptop.  We will talk about the shift in tone.  We will talk about how words change everything.

If you didn’t feel it – go back.  Go back and watch it.  Watch it with the lens of recognizing the shift in tone.  When the candidates were asked to be intentional about the words they chose, be aware of the adjustment.

And then notice they shook hands after.

Words matter.

WordPress daily prompt – Flattery

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