A little post about the words that fill my heart and what words our learners might need to hear in order to fill theirs…
It was a big week around here!
After it took place, a dear friend texted to see how it had gone.
She ended the exchange with…
I literally gasped when I read it. And then I cried.
You see, there was time in my life I have been told the complete opposite. “Why do you make it so hard to love you? ” or “You’re so hard to love”.
And in some way, I guess that has always stuck with me and I started to believe it… You see, when a relationship breaks down in my life or there are feelings of hurt or anger or sadness, that tends to be my go to. “That’s on me. I am hard to love”. This never ending recording has played in my mind for far too long.
These words were a gift. A gift I didn’t even know I needed. I mean “words of affirmation” ARE my love language but there was something about THESE words that changed me. Don’t get me wrong! My “bottom hands” make me FEEL it but to hear the specific words spoken? To have someone that I love and admire and respect, bluntly and clearly tell me that I am EASY to love? To actually use those words? I had no idea that I literally have been waiting years of my life to hear this stated.
After the text, I got in my car for the drive down the highway to go back home and smiled as I thought about the text and my “I Love Me” playlist came on. It is a playlist I made years ago when my confidence and self love was at an all time low.
The playlist reminded me of how far I have come but also of just how far I have to go in learning to love myself. Self care is one thing. I am good at boundaries and saying no and taking time for me. Self love? That’s a whole other ball game. Accepting who I am at the core is something I will always work on. But what great and important work it is…
“What words do you need to hear?”
After the long drive home, I was thrilled to see my family and at supper that night this text was still on my mind. As we did our nightly “what are you grateful for today?” reflection around the table, I told the kids that I had gotten a very nice text that made my day from my dear friend Barbara.
“What did it say Mama?”
“She told me that I was perfect just the way I was and that the world needs my light. But my favourite part? She told me I am easy to love. It made me SO happy!”
I got an “Oooooo!” and a “That’s so good!” and a “I like those words!”
The conversation continued and I asked them each “what would be the best words YOU could hear from someone you love?”
It didn’t take them long at all to answer…
Molly said “The BEST thing someone could tell me is that my kind heart inspires them. Like, that they felt like doing something mean and then thought about it and decided not to because they thought of what I would do”. (Ummm… the girl is 10. And incredible. My noticer. My empath.) Beautiful.
Casey declared that the BEST thing he could be told is “You are brave and funny. You are a GREAT friend. Like a REALLY good friend…” (Dude really wants to be someone’s BEST friend right now…)
And my sweet Sadie? “I love when someone tells me ‘you have such good ideas’ and then they use my ideas”. Love.
The conversation made me reflect on if I give them the words they need enough. Do I affirm and praise and reassure enough with my words? Can I do more? Where can I insert these affirmations into their day when they are needed most?
I encourage you to ask the same question to those around you. And reflect on the answers. I have a feeling they will move you.
What do our learners need to hear from us?
The way the text I received affected my entire day (and has continued to make me smile even days later!) and the conversation with my kids got me thinking about what our learners might need to hear from me. I have had this poster hanging next to my desk for years and they help me to focus on the right way to affirm and build the self esteem of the kids I serve.
I do my best to incorporate many of these phrases into our class community but there are a few not included here that I think are important for our kids to hear.
“We missed you!” or “You are missed when you are not here.”
After listening to George Couros’ Innovator’s Mindset podcast this week, this important statement came to mind. We all need to know that we matter and that we are missed when we are not present. Reminding our learners that they are valued and that they are missed when they are away is a great way to let them know just how much we care.
“It is an honour to be your teacher” or “I am so grateful we get to spend this time together!”
I like to take every chance I get to remind our learners AND their families that we have been brought together to spend this time together and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is an honour to be someone’s teacher (especially their FIRST teacher!) and I am forever grateful for the opportunity we have to spend our time together. Whether it be in the classroom or online, I will continue to take every chance I get to speak these words out loud… “I am grateful to be here with you”.
“You are perfectly wonderful just the way you are”. Period.
ALL children are deserving of our affirmation in the classroom. Period. Not just the compliant ones or the regulated ones or the (insert any other word here) ones … Nope. No one child (or human for that matter) is more deserving of these affirmations over another. All means all people. That’s it. I want every child in our classroom to feel as though they are perfectly and wonderfully made. That they are not mistakes. That their lid flips and their errors in judgement and their growth is what this is all about. We are learning together. With one another, from one another. Another period.
What would you add to this list?
Are there words that you are hoping to hear from someone? Or words that you have heard that still move you to this day? Think about them. Let those feelings sink in. Reflect on what words we can bring into our classrooms next year for our learners and their families that will help us grow and remind us that we are all in this together.