This summer I read Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michele Borba. It did not disappoint. If I could require all parents to read it before giving birth to their children, I would. Of course, teachers of all grade levels should read it too.
There are many valuable and practical takeaways from this read, but one of the most powerful, yet easiest to implement, only requires our intentional and repetitive words.
Borba says, "What we say about our children helps define who they are and the type of people they believe themselves to be."
She offers the example, "You're the kind of person who likes to help."
Eavesdrop in my classroom and you'll hear, "You're the kind of kid who..." quite often.
You're the kind of kid who...
- cares about our community
- values kindness
- values being ready
- values being brave
- values being safe
- wants to do your best
- wants to help others
How would you finish Borba's sentence?
It all depends on what you want the children in your care to believe about themselves. Feel free to borrow her phrase and repeatedly tell your students who they are.
They're ready to be those people.