A few days ago, as I was going back and forth between bedtime routines and diaper changes, the Golden Globes were on in the background. Like many, I assume, I expected to see fabulous gowns, a few hilarious skits, and watch a beautiful tribute to some of the latest and greatest celebrities of the decades. I was not, however, prepared to hear a speech that would move me to tears–a speech that went viral only minutes after it occurred.
I am speaking about none other than Meryl Streep. It doesn’t matter how you felt about her speech, but I would bet that it made you feel something. This left me pondering late into the evening hours…
Words Are Powerful
It’s true. They are. Our words have meaning. They evoke emotion–good, bad, or indifferent. What we say as parents, teachers, friends, and co-workers–it all matters.
So how do we use our words as a whole to bring us together? Well, it starts with LOVE. Loving one another enough to respect each other, even though we might not always agree.
As parents, teachers, and friends, what we say matters. Our words have power. But it isn’t just the words themselves that possess power; it’s also how we deliver them. Just like Meryl’s speech took root and evoked emotion, so does what and how we speak to our children.
As parents, I believe we can use love as the platform to teach conflict. Yes, I said TEACH conflict–not how to stop conflict, but how to work through it. I am currently reading a book that discusses the importance of allowing children to experience conflict. As adults, we often have conflict in our daily lives, both in our jobs and at home. Many times we can’t shy away from it. Instead, we have to face it head-on. This is how we grow and change as people. However, as parents and teachers, we often attempt to stop conflict amongst our children before it arises. This is to their detriment, because conflict is something that will never cease to exist.
As an adult, I have a few very solid friendships. Our views on the world are vastly different from one another. But we have developed such a deep love and respect for one another, that instead of allowing it to divide us, it’s what brings us together. We celebrate our differences! I attribute this to our parents, who afforded us the opportunity to experience conflict without stepping in to rescue us. While our parents did support and guide us, they also realized the importance of allowing us to experience life. We navigated through our own successes, failures, and conflicts. This has given us the confidence to be exactly who we are as individuals, while allowing us to love and respect each other for our differences.
This is where I stop and consider Meryl’s speech. She gracefully stood there, using her words to share her feelings. While I am certain there were some in that room who may not have agreed with her, they respected her enough as both a friend and fellow actress to allow her the opportunity to share what was on her heart.
Delivering Our Thoughts
It isn’t just our words that evoke emotion, it’s the way in which they are conveyed. All great speeches from our history were delivered in a slightly different manner. Some were passionately shouted from a podium, in the hopes of reaching thousands, while onlookers felt those words within the depths of their souls. Others were delivered in smaller, more intimate settings, even without expectation that it would be remembered.
As Meryl delivered her speech last night, she spoke in a steady voice, even quiet at times. Pausing every few moments or so, allowing her words to sink in and take root. As parents, we often forget the way in which we express ourselves to our children will often take root in their minds.
Using Our Words of Influence
One morning last fall, I realized the power of my own speech delivery. I was rushing around, trying to figure out the rhythm of our new routine as a family of four. In my haste, I said, “Hellooo! Hurry up, we have to go!” To which my toddler replied, “Don’t say those angry words, Mommy.” My words had an impact. To me it was frustration, but to her it was anger.
As parents, teachers, and friends, what we say matters. Our words have power. But it isn’t just the words themselves that possess power; it’s also how we deliver them. Just like Meryl’s speech took root and evoked emotion, so does what and how we speak to our children. If we want to teach our children the power of words, we must demonstrate it through love and afford them the opportunity to experience conflict.