Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Think before you Speak - a lesson for all!

I remember being told as a child to "think before you speak!" It wasn't that I said anything particularily offensive or that I was mean or spoke out of turn but into everyone's life, a thing best left unsaid enters. Now, as a parent, I've waited for these moments but parenting a young child, we've not yet really encountered this.

Today, however, I read something that made me stop.

It was an article about taking the stress out of holidays and adhering to four simple rules to make the holiday season simple. What caught my attention was the opening statement of the fourth rule: "Kids hear way too much adult conversation these days. It amazes me what adults say in front of children".

As a mother and an aunt, I could relate to this statement. I know I've said things that I probably shouldn't have in front of my son and in front of my niece and nephews. Nothing horribly inappropriate but an off hand judgement or comment about one thing or another or a snide remark about a person's sense of fashion. If I had to rationalize why, I'd likely chalk it up to "They are too young to understand."

I happen to know that this is one of the largest fallacies in life. Children understand - they understand far more than we give them credit for (any parent or education could tell you that). And even if they don't comprehend all the words, the tone of our voices give them far more information than words likely could.

Growing as a person and as a mother is always a positive experience for me - even if it makes me see just how wrong I've been. The article allowed me to grow - it shared three simple questions to ask yourself before you say anything in front of a child. The questions are:

1. Is it true?
2. Is it necessary?
3. Is it kind?

If what you are saying can measure up, you're in good stead. If not, think of your audience and start again! I also think this can be applied to every person in nearly every conversation. Maybe if we all start trying to be nicer, the world could be a better place!

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