Words have incredible power. They can be uplifting or destructive. They can be true or false. They can stay with the person to whom you communicated, or go in a million different directions outside of your control. This is especially true if you express them in an email, Facebook®, Twitter®, or text—so watch out!
These days, this is an increasing problem in our schools. We often hear educators expressing their concern about the lack of respect emanating from students, toward each other and toward faculty. How can we build healthier cultures in our schools—and in our homes and workplaces?
One contributing factor to this problem is the growing use of technology in our communications. Our words, conveyed via device rather than “in person,” are becoming more brazen. These days it doesn’t take much for a spark to ignite a fire.
Words reveal much about our character and emotional security—especially when we talk about someone who is not present. They speak to our trustworthiness, loyalty, kindness, and respect. What do your words reveal about you?
“Let your conversation be without malice or envy,
for it is a sign of a tractable and commendable nature.”
~ George Washington
Here’s an idea. One way to demonstrate “excellence” is to only say things about others that we wouldn’t mind them overhearing. Try this “Integrity Challenge” for a week and you may be amazed by how it affects your choice of words, and ultimately, your character and spirit! It makes us more tactful and respectful, and less judgmental. And, it helps build a stronger culture by the way it impacts others around us.
Then let’s take it a step further. What if we started a movement to take this “Integrity Challenge” to heart? What if we challenged ourselves and those around us—our families, friends, co-workers, teachers, students, etc.—to live by this principle and see the difference it makes? What if it became a way of life in how we think, relate, and communicate about others? Can you even imagine the possibilities? It might just change the world—in a wonderful way!
We’d love to hear if you’re going to take us up on the challenge. Please leave a comment below to let us know you’re in. Then share the link to this blog—and the challenge—with your friends and colleagues. After awhile, check back in with us and let our online community know how it’s going. What differences can you see in the atmosphere of your home, workplace, or school?