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THINK before you speak

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” goes the old saying. However, nowadays, words can hurt and something needs to be done about this issue.

When you THINK before you speak, you are making sure the words are you are about to say follow each of five principles. The staff believes that the acronym THINK, which stands for true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, and kind can be used to prevent negative speech both in school and online.

T is for true. Are the words you saying true? Speech, especially when talking about another person, needs to be true. Spreading lies or misinforming people can not only hurt people’s feelings, but cause the liar to be deemed untrustworthy.

H is helpful. Is your speech helpful? Offering advice is important to assist others in making good decisions.

The third principle is I for inspiring. Are you inspiring others with what you say? Whether people know it or not, they are inspired everyday. Inspiring speech influences people to do incredible things by making them believe in themselves.

Next is N for necessary. Does that really need to be said? While speaking is important, speech that is not useful is generally viewed as annoying, and speech that can hurt people is definitely unnecessary.

The last principle in THINK is K for kind. Are your words kind? Another old saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”  This saying applies most to kind because if a sentence is not kind, it is most likely to hurt someone. If a sentence is going to hurt someone, then there is no reason to say it at all.

THINKing does not only apply to talking someone face to face, but also on all forms of technological communication. While bullying at school can hurt people’s feelings, bullying online, or cyber bullying, can have the same effect. Cyber bullying can be done on any form of online communication, including texting, emailing, and all forms of social media. While some people may not think online interactions can be hurtful, a hurtful comment can be just as painful as a comment said face to face.

Negative speech can not only hurt others, but also compromise friendships, create trust issues, and rumors about students.

One solution to this problem is to promote THINKing around school and on social media.

If students apply THINK to their speech, texts, emails and social media posts, words may never hurt anyone again.

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THINK before you speak