I keep reading about all the conversations we need to be having. About guns. About mental health. About the privacy of our kids’ identities. And yes yes yes to all that, but before we can actually have hard conversations, we need to take a hard look at how we converse.
What are we are saying?
One of my more recent videos for Partners in Torah touched on the power of language. Most of us understand that the adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is quite untrue. Words are capable of crippling a person to the point to which they are no longer functional. Our sages teach us that words have immense creative, but also destructive, potential. For parents this is very applicable. Everything we say to, about and around our children shapes their view of themselves, life and the world.
But no pressure.
Something I noticed in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown is the amount of violence we use in our language. Just last night, I used the phrase “don’t kill me” in jest to a friend, in reference to how hard it was to get through a crowded room. WHAT WAS I THINKING? I wasn’t. This kind of violent language has just crept in. And that is not cool at all.