Words Can Do Magic – Wise Words Wednesday

I recently had the opportunity to be a substitute teacher for a 1st grade class. (I was probably a bottom-of-the-barrel substitute selection, but that didn’t stop my enthusiasm.) As the library lady at school, I get the distinct privilege of sharing a book with the students once a week, but that Friday I was given two opportunities to read books of my choosing to the class. The only problem was I couldn’t abandon my newly acquired class to run up to the library for reading materials, and the junior high classes were using the space so I couldn’t take the 1st graders to the library. I had to tap into the resources at my disposal and pick books from the numerous reading tubs available in the classroom. That is how I stumbled upon Six Crows by Leo Lionni and the powerful statement, “Words can do magic.”

The Six Crows fable is one where a wise old owl witnesses the great lengths that a farmer and six crows go to in order to protect or steal the farmer’s wheat. After reflecting on the situation, the wise owl couldn’t decide who was being sillier, so she stepped in to help. The owl advised both the farmer and the crows to speak to the other and work out their problem instead of allowing the wheat to die because the two parties were so busy trying to scare the other away. The scare tactics included terrible scarecrows and giant bird puppets; both of which prevented the wheat from being tended or eaten.

Continue reading “Words Can Do Magic – Wise Words Wednesday”

I Can Explain… – Wise Words Wednesday

I can explain it

“I can explain it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”

The hardest part of communication is when the sender expresses the message to best of his or her ability but the receiver cannot wrap their brain around what is being shared.

As a part of each week’s lessons, I include an article or example for my students to evaluate. They are then to respond to a prompt about the excerpt. In a recent journal assignment, I shared an article about research writing and the fact that your words should be the star of the paper and the sources are your supporting characters. I was very surprised to read the response of one student in particular.

Their response said that they had not understood their thoughts and words were to be the star. The student only thought they were supposed to use the words of others as they developed their paper.

Even though our first SIX weeks had been about what interested the students and what their potential thesis and counterarguments would be, that particular student failed to understand that it is the author’s words, thoughts, and opinions that make a paper relevant.

I started to reply to the journal entry with an apology for not being clear on the intent behind their research, but then I asked myself,

“Can I make them understand with an apology?”

Continue reading “I Can Explain… – Wise Words Wednesday”

Throwing Rocks at the Sky – at least you’re throwin’

Throwing Rocks at the Sky – at least you’re throwin’

During his Sunday homily, our priest told a story about a young man from Montana who would throw rocks at the sky when he was angry at God.

“It might have seemed pointless or foolish,” said Father Louis, “but at least he was keeping the lines of communication open with his heavenly father.”

There is a lot to be said for throwing rocks at the sky. As Father explained, at least the young man knew God loved him enough to take the complaints with the thanksgivings and friendly words.

We should keep this idea in mind when we are struggling in our relationships with anyone, God, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, spouses, children, anyone. We need to find ways to communicate our feelings to the best of our abilities.

Don’t throw rocks. (Remember the parable about throwing the first stone.)

We need to find body language and words to accurately demonstrate that we know and value the person enough to bring our problems or concerns to them. Even when we don’t necessarily think it will do a lot of good (like trying to land a rock in the sky), resolution or healing can come from talking out your troubles. At least you’re throwin’.

When it comes to your faith, knowing that you can talk to God, no matter what, keeps you close to Him. That closeness ensures the security you feel in your faith and God’s readiness to accept all you have to say. (Try to throw a few thank yous and praises in there with the rocky times.) At least you’re throwin’.

If your energy goes into throwing a few words of kindness, concern, frustration, or need towards those you care about, your intent will resound with greater positivity and result in communications that can reach past your horizons.

By: Melanie A. Peters