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Praise Character, Discipline Action

Featured on the Hong Kong Economic Journal (April 11, 2019)

“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me”

I think the above phrase is most untrue. Broken bones can be mended and healed in a couple of months but words that hurt our hearts can scar for years and are much harder to heal from. I’ve heard stories of how people later on in life remember something their primary school teacher said to them or how their parents scolded them as a young child.

Words have such an amazing power – to build up or to break down, to heal or to hurt and words said be remembered for years after they have been said. Which is why we have to be so careful about what we say to our children.

Recently, I heard about a teacher who was trying to teach a student how to better behave himself in class and all he could say was “this is the way I am. My mum always says I’m naughty”. How tragic that this boy, and I’m sure many others, have labeled themselves as being naughty and feel like they can’t take that label off themselves! Some children I’ve met don’t bother to try doing things right because they think they’ll mess up anyways so why bother?

One thing I truly believe in that will build our children up and not break them down is this – praise character and discipline action.