I’ve recently noticed how steeped the caregivers are in the language of gentle and productive words and phrases. There’s a finesse that we each uniquely hold, yet a collective message that we share. This to me, truly makes our words mean something.
In the Eightfold Path there is a day of “Right Words”. This excerpt continues to dwell in my mind as I’m with the children and my peers because it supports our intentional work of what and how we speak to the children.
From the Daily Soul Exercise: Speaking:
Only that which has sense and meaning should come from the lips of the person who strives for higher development. All talk for the sake of talk (for example, killing time) is harmful in this respect. The usual kind of conversation, in which everything is muddled together, should be avoided. One should not, however, avoid intercourse with others. It is just during this intercourse that speech should gradually become meaningful. All speech and answers should be carefully considered. Never talk without a reason (rather remain silent). Try to use neither too many nor too few words.
This emphasizes that our language should hold integrity. Another underlying aspect to this is the child’s ability to pick up and utilize this same language. As I’m sure you’ve noticed how quickly a little one can repeat words or phrases that you don’t want them to use. Though if our words are kind, true, and timely used then the children will gain the understanding of these phrases and concepts.
It’s a heartwarming moment to hear a child use a phrase that their caregiver often uses. It shows me how effective the language is and when the child gains the understanding of what those words mean. I often can hear Miss Sandra or Miss Belinda saying “In two shakes of a lamb’s tail.” This lets the child know they need to wait, it gives them a visual, and one day when they gain the imagery of how quick a lamb’s tail shakes, they begin to understand the amount of time that actually is. A great example of our words having meaning.
Finding ways to articulate myself to the children with intention is a continued practice. Some days it literally means I admit my fault and say, “let me try again” so I can clearly communicate to the child and they can process my words with meaning. Though I love knowing that I’m holding myself accountable to my words and the child can too. I hope you find meaning in your words and can speak your truths freely!
Destiny Skubis, Primary Caregiver
LifeWays Early Childhood Center