Choose your words
Instead of: You keep misspelling that same word, even though I’ve corrected it for you many times. You need to pay better attention and get it right.
This–>I’ve noticed this word causes you some spelling difficulty on your first pass. Have you noticed that? Do you catch it in editing? How can you help yourself remember it? I know for me, I rely on spell check, sometimes I ask my second reader to double check the specific word for me, sometimes I figure out which of my hard words repeat in the piece I’m about to write and I make a list ahead of time to consult.
Instead of: We have to get this done.
This–>I’m feeling pressure for us to finish this (page, project, copywork passage, exercise, paper) because (we have to turn it in at co-op, I want to move to the next project, we’ve worked on it a long time and I can feel our energy waning, we need to finish the book). How can we find a way to get this project completed by (next Tuesday, after lunch, before we go to Chicago for the weekend)? Ideas?
Instead of: You have to learn to care about your school work. I can’t be chasing you down to be sure you complete your assignments. It’s up to you to be more independent or you will not succeed in (college, the work force, someone else’s class, high school, as a human being).
This–>I’ve noticed that you aren’t keeping up with the schedule we agreed to for X subject. Wanted to point that out to you. Is there a way I can support you in completing your work in a timely way? Is there a reason you find it difficult to finish or sustain interest? Here’s what I can provide, here’s what needs to come from you. I won’t nag you, though. The final outcome will be determined by your efforts…and the help you would like from me that you articulate.
Instead of: Stop being so silly. This is school.
This–>**tickle tickle** **Jump on the trampoline** Okay, let’s get all the sillies out of our system and then we can buckle down for X minutes and then it’s lunch and we’ll be home free. Ready, set, go!
Instead of: No.
This–>Hmmm. Interesting. How might that happen?
Or this–>Cool! Can we do it after X?
Or this–>That doesn’t sound (safe, possible, affordable), but is there a way we can do a version of it that would be?
Instead of: Not now.
This–>Yes! Let’s ditch what our original plan was and do it right this minute!
Instead of: YELLING
This–>I feel like yelling right now, so I’m going to (step into the bathroom, drink a cup of tea, take a five minute walk, nurse the baby) while I think about what I really want to say.
Cross-posted on facebook. Image by Steve Johnson