It is important to help children hear, see, feel and know the difference between positive power words and negative power words by having children first build a foundation of awareness and knowledge about the differences in the FEELING SENSE of the words themselves. A meaningful activity is to ask children to come up with positive and negative words-brainstorm, make lists, discuss, share ideas and feelings. What words make us feel good? What words hurt? Often a child will feel the hurt not only emotionally but also within the body–as if they were “kicked in the solar plexis, “felt 10 feet tall” or “their heart broke into pieces.” The hurt of words can be felt emotionally and physically. Children can be made aware of specific words and phrases that feel good, hurt, uplift, support, negate, torment, and are “put ups or put downs.”
To further reinforce this point, please take a look at the www.nonamecallingweek.org, and in particular the PUT UPS versus PUT DOWN section in the following PDF: www.nonamecallingweek.org/binary-data/NoNameCalling_ATTACHMENTS/file/86-1.pdf.
Teaching children to FEEL the emotional power of their words is crucial to a character-building education. One of my songs, “You Can Change You” (from the CD, “Celebrate!”) says: “Think before you talk now…don’t say it if it hurts someone else.” If we teach children how to differentiate between what words feel good and what words hurt themselves or another, we will have helped to create bully-free environments within an empathic, intelligent generation.