My Mammy, along with half the parents the world over, always said:
If you haven’t anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
This is something I really try to do in my life and sometimes it is a struggle…
In saying that, I think there’s explicitly being unkind to people with what you say and that’s what my Mammy has been banging on about all these years. Then there are the ways we hurt other people indirectly with what we say. And this is something I think we’re all guilty of.
Ban on Easy
As a teacher, I always have a rule in my classes and that’s a ban on the word ‘easy’ or any word meaning easy.
When I introduce this rule at the start of the year some children honestly think I’m mad! However, I always follow it up with a simple explanation:
A child gets work, say multiplication, and says this is easy. What they really mean is they will be able to do it with no bother and/or they enjoy it. (Alright! Stop spoofing!)
That’s really great that they feel that way and of course, it’s more than ok to feel it.
But, this is the important part, not everything you think/feel has to or should come out of your mouth.
Be More Considerate
They’ve said that in a class with many other children who also have multiplication. There will definitely be one child in the class who was dreading multiplication and struggles with it.
Now, on top of those negative things, hearing someone else say it’s easy may make them feel even worse about themselves. A throwaway (show off!) comment from one child could be a crushing blow to another.
So basically, it’s a ban on easy but on a bigger scale (I’m hoping!) it’s a lesson on considering other people and how the things you say or do might affect them. And sometimes you can actually see that recognition on a child’s face.
And it gives you a wee bit of a feeling like you might be alright at your job after all! (I’m spoofing now!)
Just Shut The F*#$ Up
Now back to real life and not the classroom… I don’t know if I’ve become more sensitive since having the children but I’ve become more aware of things people say. Things they feel are about themselves, but make other people feel like shite. And we, as adults, are as guilty of claiming stuff is ‘easy’ as the children at school!
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In the parenting circles, I’m sure, we’ve heard all of the following:
Labour/breastfeeding/sleep training/weaning etc is easy!
Like, good for you, but a lot of people really struggle with those things so please do me a favour and just Shut The F*#$ Up!
We love giving our, usually unsolicited, opinions, like sharing our routines and AGAIN spoofing about how great these work for us. (Jeepers but we love blowing smoke up our own backsides!) This is often disguised as helping, but let’s just call a spade a spade!
It’s wonderful that your child goes to sleep at 7.
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03pm after being put through the Bath, Book, Bed routine but mine are actually wild animals and it won’t work for me so please just do me a favour and Shut The F*#$ Up!
We love complaining about our first world problems! You may often hear,
‘I’m really skint after being away for the weekend and having had to go to a wedding this month, don’t even think I will get out this Saturday!’
Not that that isn’t a genuine complaint but think for a minute that someone in your company might be struggling just to keep a roof over their families head every month and then do me a favour and just Shut The F*#$ Up!
So my message really is this:
Actually, think about what you’re saying and who you’re saying it to.
Be more considerate.
Be nicer to everyone.
And generally just Shut The F*#$ Up more!