The Power of Words

One of the best things about being a parent is that there simply is no time to worry about your own insecurities and how the world perceives you. You just have to envision that almost cliché image of a young mother, toddler in hand and a baby on the hip, with spit up on her shirt, her messy hair in a bun and those tell-tale dark circles under her eyes, getting into her car to go to the shops or to do the morning school run, to realise that she is simply past caring what people think about her. And that is amazing!

It is amazing because at some stage we all need to grow up and we all need to face our inner demons and simply move on and the best time to do this is when you become a parent. Although parents do of course still battle with issues of insecurity, it no longer haunts their every action as they now have bigger issues to deal with (how to prevent your child from living with said insecurities for example). I mean, who wants to project all these issues onto their children, right? So, instead of focusing on how the world perceives us, we, as parents, rather spend the little bit of spare energy we have, to focus on how we can better ourselves for our children so that we can become the best example to them.

Being a blogger, my world is made up of words. I love words and beautiful phrases and when I experience a strong emotion (whether good or bad) or a fun and exciting adventure, words float around in my head, waiting to be written down. I am therefore extremely sensitive to, and aware of, the power of words and how they can influence those around us.

The one way (and there are many) in which I am trying to better myself is to try and use a vocabulary made up of only positive words. I am not talking about sugar coating or manipulating a difficult situation or a hard truth (these need to be dealt with as directly and truthfully as possible), I am talking about substituting those negative words and phrases which we all use in our daily lives, such as ‘stupid mistake’, ‘dumb’, ‘you better love me or else…’ with positive words and phrases like ‘you are so clever, this was just a silly mistake’ or ‘I love you because of …’.

Think back to a time when someone close to you asked you in anger ‘why do you ask such dumb questions?’ and think about how that made you feel. Think about that time when someone said, ‘if you act like that, no-one will love you’ and remember the hurt that these words imparted on you. Now imagine being the one to cause that hurt in your loved ones, or your children (who will have these words thundering in their heads until they grow up when they will hopefully learn to move on and let go of the insecurities we helped create).

If there is one thing I wish we could change in our world, it would be to just forget that words like ‘stupid’, ‘dumb’, ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’ (to name just a few) even existed – that everybody’s vocabulary consisted solely of beautiful, kind and strong words, such as ‘brave’, ‘intelligent’, ‘compassionate’, ‘wonder’ and ‘peace’, words which lighten the soul and brighten a heart.

My little Bean just turned two, and he is talking a mile a minute, soaking up every single word and phrase he hears and although we have made some parrot-toddler mistakes (read ‘Oh Shit!’) I am trying my best to feed his thirst for words with a positive vocabulary – because his happy, positive chatter is like food to my soul.

Dear reader, I challenge you to do the same. Think about the words and phrases you use on a daily basis and consider their connotations and how they might influence others. Let’s make our world, our perception of ourselves and our influence on others better, positive and simply wonderful.

 

3 Daily Must-Have Conversations with your Child

‘The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice’ is a powerful quote which has been popping up on my newsfeed a lot lately. It is so powerful (and so popular) because it is, of course, true. I briefly touched on this subject in one of my previous posts on discipline (read it here) when I mentioned what I had been told by an educator during one of the moms and baby classes I had attended. Namely, that children under the age of five cannot form an opinion about themselves and instead internalise their caregivers’ opinions. Once they have the ability to form an opinion of themselves, they use these internalised views as their main reference point.

It is because of this that I have started having three daily conversations with my Bean, based on principles I would like him to internalise. These are values which I believe will help him to face life’s countless challenges, to become successful and to be a good person.

Although our conversations at the moment are fairly one-sided and usually consist of me talking and explaining while Bean throws in the odd word (or the occasional ‘hmmmmm’), I am laying the groundwork for future conversations to come.  Instead of simply telling him, ‘you are thoughtful’, for example, I try and find examples in our everyday lives which showed him acting thoughtful, and I have a conversation about that moment and why it is so important.

  1. You are Intelligent

I have met countless people who act unintelligent when in fact they are not. Whether they do this because they really believe that they are not smart or whether they feel insecure in the presence of other intelligent people, I do not know. I, however, want Bean to be secure in the knowledge that he is intelligent, that he is strong and that he can achieve whatever he sets his mind to. He must be confident in his own ability and not self-sabotage his achievements because of self-doubt.

  1. You are Brave

Whether it is climbing onto a new jungle gym as a child or investing his time and money into a new business venture as an adult, I want him to be brave. Yes, life is risky and life can be scary, but no one gets anywhere without taking a risk or making that difficult decision to change something in one’s life, to explore and grow, to learn a new skill.  I want Bean to know that it is ok to be scared, but that he must trust in his ability and that he must be brave.

  1. You are Kind

The world would be a better place if we were all just a little bit kinder. I want to teach Bean to have an open heart and an open mind, I want him to believe in the goodness of others (without being gullible) and I want him to treat others with compassion.

Life can be hard and sometimes we need to be hard because of it, but this does not mean we have to be mean or judgemental. A little bit of kindness goes a long way. The German word for ‘kindness’ is ‘liebenswürdig’ and directly translated it means ‘worthy of love’. When we are kind, we are giving love and, in turn, are becoming worthy of it.

As parents, we need to take care of our children’s emotional needs as much as their physical needs, and that includes giving them the confidence, together with a sound value-driven reference system,  to face and deal with the difficulties which are inevitably going to cross their paths.

What important conversations are you having with your kids?