This morning, I was watching a news story on the march at Selma. I can't even pretend to understand what it took for people to march there. Their bravery and dedication to a cause much larger than themselves is inspiring. While I do not have a personal attachment to that march, it still moves me to tears when I see the images or hear the words surrounding that day. I can't help but wonder if that march would have ever happened without the words of Dr. King and other civil rights activists reminding people of their worth in the world and insisting that a change be made. I know that Dr. King's words changed a nation. That is powerful.
Napoleon Hill, a now deceased author on success, said,"Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another." Those words still ring true today. It is a heavy burden that educators carry with them every day. Our words set our students up for success or failure. While I realize I am an imperfect teacher, I do hope that more students feel that I am in their corner than feel I don't believe in them. It has taken me some time to realize the power of my words. I used to believe that my students weren't really moved by my words; however, I have come to realize that my opinion matters to them. That is an amazing power that I do not take lightly.
My goal is to be more judicious with my own words. I want to grow thoughtful, well-adjusted, hungry for knowledge citizens of our nation. I want my students, and my own children, not just to accept someone else's words, but form their own opinions and their own words. When they realize that their words are powerful, then they can decide for themselves how best to battle those sticks and stones.