Defining Words and Labels

Ward.  The words don’t roll nicely off my tongue and my ears cringe at the sound.  It’s not a poetic or playful word.   It feels cold, like a sterile hospital wing.   So, I was taken by surprise when an uncle at my family reunion commended us for taking in a ward.   Now, I know he meant no ill will with his word choice, but it felt like salt on a wound as he said it. By definition,  it’s what I do. I take responsibility for caring for a child being supervised by the state.   But I never really saw myself as taking in wards.   I wish I could go back in time  and formulate an eloquent response.   I wish I could have explained how special every child is and we all have a part to play in caring for kids in our community.  But I simply said, “Someone has to take care of these children and I’m glad it’s us.”    Maybe that’s all I needed to say.

His comment really got me thinking.   Words define and label.

  • When was the last time I evaluated the language I used surrounding my role?
  • Is my language hope giving and respectful?
  • Am I using language that affirms relationships and individuals?

Lets use words and labels to build the children, families and workers we serve.

 

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