“The Pen is mightier than the sword.”
It doesn’t take much to recognize the power of our words. We use them every day to communicate; we share our thoughts and feelings, we teach, and persuade. We can use our words to motivate and inspire, and we can use them to criticize and punish. Our words are critical tools for civilized society; so vital, in fact, that our founding fathers enshrined their unfettered use in the First Amendment of our Constitution.
With all this power, one would expect that great care would be taken to assure the proper use of the written/spoken word. Yet we’ve all been witness to the often cavalier manner in which some use their words. We can also emit some pretty harsh stuff in moments of anger or frustration.
We are warned that “words can cut like a knife.” Shouldn’t we, therefore, wield them with as much caution? Just because we can say something, doesn’t mean we should.
We’ve all been there; some of the most vicious animals on the planet are kids. They can say the most hurtful things to one another. While it generally starts out innocently enough, as they just don’t realize what they’re saying, they eventually fine-tune their craft. By the time they’re in middle school, they can be absolutely brutal. Nothing is off limits, as they ridicule their peers; hairstyle, body composition, complexion, fashion, and even your mom are all fair-game. (Just in case you’re wondering, back in the day, my dad could beat up yours.)
Most of us eventually grow out of this phase. We learn to recognize the social nuances of appropriate speech. We might “kid” our friends about their fashion choices, but that kind of discourse is reserved for personal time. Harassing your peers at work, or someone you hardly know about such things is a recipe for disaster.
Just as we teach the children in our junior’s program about the proper use of their jiujitsu and the responsibility which comes with it, so too, we want to teach them to navigate the social waters of appropriate speech. The tool we’re teaching them to use is the acronym THINK.
Before you speak, THINK…
- T – Is it True?
- H – Is it Helpful?
- I – Is it Inspiring?
- N – Is it Necessary?
- K – Is it Kind?
Unless you’re close friends with someone in class, your conversation should really be focused on the task at hand. While we’re on the mat, we should be focused on improving our jiujitsu, as well as our training partners’.
“If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.”
See you on the mat.