There are 2 students who are always going head to head with each other. So last week, I caught them telling on each other and called them to confront the issue. It ended becoming a ‘He said she said’ conversation. So I made them work it out. For 1 whole hour, they stood beside me to talk about who was telling the true side of the story. They were constantly reminded to keep an open body position while standing straight and to speak in a normal tone. They somewhat sorted the issue out.
When school ended, one of the parent requested to see me. Before discussing the real pressing matter, she shared with me that her daughter told her what had happened. And that her daughter understood that what I did was not punishment, instead a lesson. For a 9 year old to see this perspective of what I did, I must say, is pretty impressive.
Obviously, what her mother said stuck with me. I was kept amazed at her daughter’s interpretation. Then it donned on me. I never used the word ‘punishment’. All I repeated was for them to figure out. Figure out whose story was the right story. And they sorted everything out on their own, in front of me.
It’s the words.
If we say it’s a punishment, they see it as a punishment.
If we say it’s a consequence, they see it as a consequence.
If we say it’s a lesson, they see it as a lesson.
If we say they are trouble, then all we see is trouble.
If we say they are stubborn, all we see is stubborn.
If we say they are irresponsible, all we see is irresponsible.
If we say they can figure it out, they will figure it out.
If we say they are capable, they will be capable.
If we say they are good enough, they will be good enough.
Everyone is born with the talent and capability to achieve. We just need guidance. Some take a long time. Some take a short time. Either way, we are all deserving of guidance.
I fall into this trap sometimes. The trap of saying the wrong words. Hey, I’m human. But as soon as I notice, I hit reset and start again.