We learned as kids that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. My parents over and over reinforced that message. I was shocked when I began my refereeing career and heard the same thing. If you weren’t sure what to say to coaches or didn’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. My mentor taught me silence cannot be misinterpreted. Many of these same lessons can be translated into the world of education leadership.
It’s kind of sad, but I was not surprised a few weeks ago, when the New York Giants cut a player for responding to a fan on social media, using a derogatory word. A radio station in Denver also just fired a radio host for making an insensitive comment about school shootings. Really? Why would either of them make these comments? Sure I can understand making a mistake but I believe these organizations acted correctly with the firings.
We, as professionals, should know better, and it goes back to the simple message: if you don’t know what to say or you do not have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all! Additionally, the more you do it, and the more you follow the simple rules, you will train yourself, and learn to refrain from maybe saying the first thing that pops into your mind. Like that muscle you use in the gym, you will train your brain not only when to speak, but also how to speak.
Here in this first month of 2020, keep this concept in mind with your dealings with staff, students, and community members. Continue to go out and do great things for your school and community.
“Good words bring good feelings to the heart. Speak with kindness, always.”