I previously shared that words have meaning and words have power. Of equal
importance with the words that are said is how the words are heard. Many of us have used the phrase, “It is not only what you say, it is also how you say it.”
Inherent in that phrase is the understanding that not only do words have meaning and power, how those words are said contribute to the meaning and the power that the words have.
Additionally, how someone hears and/or interprets the words said to them
also contributes to the meaning and power that the words have. How many time have you been in a debate with someone and they told you what you said to them. As what they told you that you said to them was incorrect, you replied, “That is not what I said.” Their response was, “Well, that is what I heard you say.” Exactly. That may not be what was said, however, that is what was heard.
In addition to the words that are said and the way the words are said, is the
consideration of the subconscious interpretation of the words that are said.
For example, when I was teaching, I came to the realization that children
equate discipline with love. Whereas they may not verbalize it, their actions
reflect their belief that, “You love me enough to hold me accountable. You love
me enough to tell me right from wrong. You love me enough to set boundaries.
You love me enough to set standards. You love me enough to tell me, ’No.’”
All throughout the day, I would overhear my students say how much they
hated me because I did not permit them to do what they desired. I would see notes that they shared with each other of bullets going through my body as they used red ink to display my spilled blood because I held them accountable to the high standards I set for them. I would talk to their younger siblings during recess and they would share that their older siblings said that I was mean teacher.
Although I heard statements like this all throughout the day, at the end of the
day I would have to make them go home because they would want to hang out
in my classroom. Although they “hated me”, wanted to shoot me and though I
was mean, they knew I loved them because I held them accountable, told them
right from wrong, set boundaries, set standards and told them “No.”
All of this made sense when I would hear a few of them say to me as I was
pressing them for excellence, “My mother does not care what I do.” On the one
hand, they were saying it because they wanted to justify that I was being mean
and unreasonable. However, on the other hand, as I heard them saying, “My
mother does not care what I do,” as I looked in their eyes, they were
subconsciously interpreting the words to mean, “My mother does not care.” Once they began the statement saying, “My mother does not care…” it did not matter what came afterwards. The words were interpreted, “My mother does not care…”
How do your children/grandchildren interpret the words, “I am a minority?”