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.