“Use Your Words!”

When I worked as a teacher’s aide, it was one of my stock phrases. “Use your words,” I would admonish my tiny charges when someone hit someone else or had a tantrum. “We don’t hit,” I would further clarify. “That isn’t nice and it doesn’t solve your problem, does it? If you are mad at Susie, tell her. Let her know how you feel and what she can do to help you feel better.”

It was a lofty goal – to expect 5-year-olds to put their turbulent emotions into words; some might say it was an impossible expectation. But I wasn’t expecting miracles, just a start. I wanted to get my tiny charges thinking – just thinking – about an alternate way to handle their anger. I knew I had made an impact the day I heard one of the children tell a classmate to “use your words!”

It gives me hope, to think of that day and those children. They taught me as much as I taught them. Perhaps more. No, definitely more, for we adults have forgotten so much of what we learned in kindergarten.

The saddest loss is that we no longer seem to feel a need to use our words. I blame that on social media, where responses are reduced to emojis that take a mere split-second of our time and even less thought. Occasionally, we will type a reply, but even that is abbreviated. “Lol”, we comment, or “smh”. We seem to have lost complete words, and sentences are a rarity.

This loss of words is most evident when people do attempt to use them; sentences are often awkwardly phrased, and the words misspelled.  As with any talent that we haven’t used in a very long time, we are rusty and out of practice, and it shows. Still, it’s a start and it gives me hope. Any response is better than just the click of a mouse on a ready-made emoji-feeling.

Despite what most of my friends think, I am Not criticizing and proof-reading your comments. I am so grateful for whole words and complete thoughts that I treasure each sentence. To quote another old phrase, “neatness and spelling don’t count.” I am hungry for communication, something – anything! – that goes beyond a mere “like”.

I challenge you to “use your words” and leave a comment. If my words have touched you in some way, please use your words to say so. It will truly make my day. I’m not expecting miracles. After all, it’s social media and old habits die hard. I’m going to try to not be discouraged by the usual lack of response. Because, if I have made you think – just think — about talking to one another, then my efforts are not in vain.

“Words feed the hungry soul.” ~ D.Wylie


2 thoughts on ““Use Your Words!”

  1. You’ve definitely initiated thinking. But my worry is how do you communicate and become vulnerable when the internet wall has cloaked for so many years. My job is even virtual – emojis are used in the regular. I’ve come to depend on my shorthand convo. Plus it protects me from everything and protects everything from me🤣


    1. I hear you, but there Are other ways of communicating. When was the last time you sent someone a card or letter via “snail mail”? The internet is a pretty “safe” environment – no face-to-face contact. Perhaps that is why people feel so free to criticize or ignore. Hard to do that with a living, breathing human. Receiving a get-well card in the mail after my surgery made me realize how lovely it is to be noticed in such an individualized, personal way; how unique! And it made me realize how much I miss those days. An actual card means someone spent time thinking of me, and picking out an appropriate card and then addressing and sending it. SO much more time and thought is involved. It made me feel loved, special, worthy of the effort. By contrast, a “Happy Birthday” message on Facebook takes no time and therefore requires very little thought. So we go on, being digitally caring while remaining safely aloof. It’s sad….
      Thanks for taking time to “use your words”, and comment. Such things give me hope and make my heart happy!

      Liked by 1 person

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