Use Your Words.

(The following has also been published on The Courage for Mine.)

I’m not proud to say that I had to clean up my language when I had children. More importantly, I had to clean up my language while driving after I had kids. I hope I am pretty moderate in my use of colorful language when referring to my fellow travelers. However, I recently slipped. And despite that it was under my breath, I apologized to my six year old in the back seat. She asked me why I apologized. I explained that some words have power that we don’t fully understand – they might offend or hurt, and until you better understand that power, I shouldn’t use words that you shouldn’t use. While she returned to staring at the cows we passed, I was reminded of the power of our language.

How have you used your words to lift others today?

What I love most about twitter is how easy it is to help someone with a resource, affirm what they say with a retweet, or just brighten their day with a joke or a “woot!” But are we doing that enough in our day to day work and personal life? Have you thanked someone, complimented someone, cheered someone on today?

I am always in awe of several members of the #sachat community for their amazing and continual support of others, especially the young professionals. One of those rockstars is Tina Horvath, from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. I was so honored to actually meet her at NASPA, and she is just as wonderful in person as she is on twitter. On a regular basis, she encourages the community…

Perhaps it’s my English and Communication background, but I love words. I love how we can use them to change a person’s mind or change her day. My love for the words is compounded when it is supported by someone’s voice, which make my crush on James Earl Jones more understandable. To that end, I love how spoken word poetry can move and share ideas (I’ll save my tribute to Rives for another day).

How are we supporting the voices in our community? How are we making their words heard?

If you are interested in being moved by words and voice, there are few better examples than this TED talk:

How are we lifting the young professionals or the women leaders, the often quieted or the rarely seen? This is not about being political correct; this is about being inclusively right. Our words matter. Our voice matters. Because we want more moments like this:

Amber GarrisonDuncan
Favorite comment so far- my 5 yo niece looking at a pic of herself "I'm just gonna say it, I'm beautiful" Remember it always. #WLsalt

And for my six year old daughter, I do everything in my power to make sure she hears the good words, the uplifting words, more than my frustration. Here’s one of her favorite songs: The Princess Who Saved Herself.

9 responses to this post.

  1. [...] (The following is also posted on Student Affairs Women Lead) [...]


  2. I’m a big believer in this. Thanks for writing and for posting. You rock my dear, you really do rock. :-)


  3. Such a wonderful post! Thank you Niki for sharing this with us! And now that I have met you and spent time with you, I am so thankful our paths have crossed. You have highlighted others who have positively impacted my life and many others in the twitterverse. I am a better having known you and many others from #sachat and #WLSalt communities.


    • Laurie, you are so kind. So glad that we have connected. I look forward to many more opportunities for laughs and learning together. So happy that you are part of the #WLsalt community.


  4. yes, yes and yes… Thank you for sharing!


  5. Posted by Candace Dennig on March 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I love this post! I’ve become sensitive to our use of words as I’ve spent more time in Higher Education, because now I find in my environment that we assume so much of our communication is understood by students and even other staff. Along with that, I hear more and more negativity around what is being said about each other and students, and I find this post so meaningful as to remind me that positive words are not only uplifting to hear, but uplifting to give. There are very few moments better than telling someone how wonderful they are and how much potential they have – it’s one of the reasons I love doing what I do. I feel so lucky to have pros around me who find worth and value in sharing INSPIRATIONAL words versus harsh ones. Hard on ideas, soft on people:) Thank you!


    • So great to hear from other professionals who focus on the positive and provide their students with affirmation. Keep up the great work. Your words make a tremendous difference!


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