02/05/2013 01:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Say It With Style

At our family dinner table, it's not unusual to find us talking about words. The power words hold, their affect on the world, and, in our household, the bills they pay. After seeing the movie Lincoln, we talked about the power of the words "Yay" and "Nay" and how "Yay" freed a group of people. Words have started wars, and made peace. Words can make you laugh, put a smile on a face, or make you think differently.

Having young kids, more often than not, my husband and I find ourselves talking about words that hurt. It's heartbreaking to hear what kids think is okay to say to each other away from their parents and on their own turf. I hope we've taught our kids that ugly words are more a reflection of the person saying them than an accurate depiction of the one receiving them. Because that's the truth.

I won't be able to shield my kids from ugly words as they grow up. Sadly, like we all know, hurtful words have no age limit. I was reminded of this last week when I was on the receiving end of some adjectives that were neither constructive nor helpful, but just plain mean. I was also reminded a few days later that words inspire, as it did at my daughter's gymnastics meet, where we all watched her 60-plus-year-old coach do a floor routine to a roomful of people chanting, "You can do it, you can do it, you can do it," because she could and she did. Those are the words worth saying.

As my kids go through life, I hope they use words that make others feel good and valued. I hope their "thank yous" and " I love yous" come as freely as their "pleases" and "you can do its." I hope they surround themselves with friends and loved ones that say words that feed their soul, inspire their brain and nurture their heart.

Sticks and stones do break bones, and yes, words can hurt us.

Choose your words wisely, they reveal the content of your character. And have the power to transcend.


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