Byron's Babbles

The Language To Open Our World

Posted in DTK, Education, Educational Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 21, 2020
Language Matters: “I get to go to the dentist!”

In Chapter 17 of Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK), DTK taught us that our words matter. He used the phrase “work-life balance” that gets used a lot to drive this home. He hates that phrase and he even tried to Google it reversing “work” and “life” and didn’t get anything. To this he said, ” Our culture is so distorted that even Google’s algorithm has it backwards!” (p. 140) I have actually used this topic in leadership development gatherings to discuss whether our work defines us – if it does, should it? Any thoughts?

It’s sad that the norm is for us to put work first when considering balance. This makes me wonder if this is why so many are having trouble coping during these, now 284, days of the Global Pandemic. If we listen to the things we say (myself included), I would have to say “yes.” I’m hardly on any Zoom where someone doesn’t talk about “pandemic fatigue”or “work/life blur” among many other phrases I have heard people say. We need to find the strength to persevere through the next however many days of the pandemic. One way is to think about the words an language we use. DTK quoted Judith Glaser as having said, “words create worlds” (p. 140). He then said, “The way you speak about something is a window into what you thin about it, which informs how you feel, which shapes the actions taken and, therefore, the results that naturally follow. Your words do much more than serve as a mechanism for communication. Your choice of words matters. Words not only communicate what you’re thinking and what you believe, they create your reality” (p. 140). As I always say, “Language matters.”

This goes for what we say to ourselves and others. In education we say things like “You must read for 90 minutes.” Why don’t we say (and I suggest this to teachers all time), “You get to read.”? Words matter!!! Let’s help our kids understand they “get to read” and “get to be educated,” not “have to.” Even today I was reminded of this when I going to the dentist for my six month cleaning and checkup. I kept telling myself, “I get to go to the dentist.” Okay, so it doesn’t always work, but it really did put me in a different mindset. I know this might be seen by some as Pollyanna thinking, but that’s exactly the kind of thinking we need to have. Remember, language matters, both the words we say to others and even more importantly those we say to ourselves.


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