Laughter and shouts ring out from all corners of the playground, children are climbing, jumping, swinging, and chasing each other with abandon. With such light and carefree hearts, children – like wind sprites – seem to reflect all that is good in the world as they chase autumn leaves, roll down a grassy hill, follow their curiosity along the path of a ladybug, or throw their arms around their mum without a care as to who’s watching and say, “I love you, mummy!”.
Unfortunately, this innocence has it’s down side – their naiveté to the impact that hurtful words can have on others.
When my boys were young, I tried to make everything as simple as possible. They only had three rules to follow, and I called them “The 3 Rs”:
- Be Responsible
- Be Respectful
- Be Respectable
They just needed to be sure that their actions didn’t violate one of these three rules (I admit, patience is not one of the virtues with which I was born… and this made it pretty easy when they were in the midst of a temper tantrum – which obviously didn’t fall into the second or third list item :).
The other day, I saw a post on Pinterest that fell into the same “Keep it Simple” category. I loved it and wished I’d had it as a tool when I was teaching my boys about the second “R” – Respectful. It simply said, “Before you speak: THINK!”. Of course, I’d heard this statement before, but as a child my (internal) response to this was, “What exactly do you want me to think about?”.
T – is it True?
H – is it Helpful?
I – is it Inspiring?
N – is it Necessary?
K – is it Kind?
Finally! An answer to my internal question! This simple formula for that age-old statement “THINK before you speak” gives those wind chasing, grass scented, hugging children an easy way to be sure that their words can have a positive impact on others.