There are many wise words of wisdom my mom passed on to me when I was growing up... (and fortunately for me, she still does). Two of them stuck out in my mind this week as I learned an important lesson. One is “You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” … meaning that anyone can say anything, but do they actually do what they say they’ll do. The other statement was “You can say anything till you’re blue in the face, but what is it you’re doing?” … again meaning you can talk, talk, talk… but people will watch and learn more from your actions than from what you say.
Well, this week I needed to have a difficult conversation with someone because of a "difference" that was getting in the way of our relationship. A minor thing, but an important thing. So, I asked my roommate for suggestions on how I could approach it.
She is amazing!! She turned my question around back to me and said (not exact words here, but pt. is made) “Imagine you’re at school and one little boy is frustrated because another little boy won’t share the toys with him. What would you tell them to do?” Ahhh… here’s where the enlightenment comes in. I thought about what I have said to children at least once a day for the past 160 some days… sometimes 5 or 10 times a day.
We encourage the students to not go to a teacher to solve their problems (unless the problem is a “Double D”… meaning something that is dangerous or destructive). Instead, we role-play and practice how we can use our words to solve our problems. In the above situation, I would ask the student who is frustrated to tell his friend how he feels by using an “I Feel” statement and then allow his friend to state one in return. Then, they’re encouraged to either work out a compromise or for one student to apologize, etc. I’ve walked kids through this so many times this year that I’m “blue in the face”, but yet I haven’t listened to a word I’ve said and haven’t followed through on my own advice!!
So, yes, it’s good even for adults to use an “I feel” statement, let the other reply as well, and then try and work out a compromise. And, maybe listen to your own advice every now and then :)