Monday, June 20, 2011
Children Live What They Learn
Parents are the primary teachers of language. By the time a child enters the first grade the foundation of his/her spoken language is in place. The language she hears from day to day is the language she will use to communicate and develop relationships with society as a whole. I spent the last week listening to common, everyday language to find common phrases that either reflected a peaceful attitude about human relationships or those that we might reconsider. What do you think small children just learning to communicate might learn from hearing the following: "Those are fighting words, man." "You idiot, that's not how you do it." "Somebody needs to take him out to the woodshed and teach him a lesson." "Stoning's too good for her!" "I'd kill for a juicy hamburger!" You might think I'm crazy but what if we used the following substitutes, respectively. "I have to respectfully disagree with you." "Where did you learn to do that that way?" "That person's behavior is not something I would like for you to repeat. It is disrespectful and harmful." "People who commit crimes like that are detrimental to society." "I'd pay a million dollars for a juicy hamburger." Do you think making these changes would have any impact at all on choices our children make when they enter adolescence and adulthood?