Words can be magical and powerful. Reading stories can take us to faraway places on great adventures and meet fascinating people. Writing words can give us power by helping us to understand ourselves, our feelings, and what we would like to do with our lives. We can write our own story, making us the adventurous hero, an astronaut, a race car driver, a fashion designer, or anything we can dream. When we write our dreams, those dreams can become real.
Do you think about words, the definition, the etymology, and the meaning to the local people using them? Beth and I think about words a lot, we try to find just the right word and often comment on the lack of words in the English language.
I remember the yard signs and the campaign of Kindness Matters. What happened to that campaign? It doesn't seem like many people remember the importance of kindness. What does ‘kind' mean to you?
Maybe it’s a noun that describes a group of people who have similar thoughts and beliefs?
Maybe it’s an adjective that describes a person who is caring and compassionate?
Words are powerful and important. As we took our book from initial manuscript through concept development our editor changed one word that Beth and I felt very strongly about. I wrote the sentence as "Molly wanted to be friends." Our editor suggested we change it to read "Molly wanted to make friends."
It seems like a minor change, but we felt strongly that the word 'be' was important and powerful in this sentence. It is a different meaning to us that Molly chooses to be a friend... not just "make" a friend to play games with.
We wanted to convey that Molly wanted to BE a friend -- showing her intentional efforts to care, support, and genuinely listen to someone else. To us, it is important to help children learn how to BE a friend.
As you read our book, remember that each word was carefully selected to help inspire dialogue about communicating emotions and feelings effectively.
On another page, I had written a sentence to read, 'Buddy said, "I'm sorry for biting, I'll try not to do it again." Beth asked if I would change it to read, 'Buddy said, "I'm sorry for biting, I won't do it again."
This led to a wonderful discussion on what the difference between these two apologies. I wanted to express the idea that even with the best intentions we make mistakes. Beth thought the word “try” sounds half-way, like Buddy wasn’t being authentic in his sincerity of such an important apology to Shiner.
Beth wanted to express the idea that we should commit to a behavior change – allowing ourselves grace if we “mess up” but delivering the apology with full intent to follow through on the change.
I agreed with her after we talked through both our ideas and perspectives. She understands and embraces having grace for oneself if a mistake happens. That's not natural for me, but I'm working on it!
Words are powerful so we encourage everyone to be mindful and careful with their words. Our ultimate message is to live with intent but allow yourself the grace to make mistakes.
We hope the words within our book take you to a magical place of love, kindness, compassion, and understanding. A place you can enjoy with your loved one, sitting in your lap, listening to a story about bunnies with big emotions and feelings.
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November 13, 2022
Words! The meaning of them and how they are used is so very important for clear, honest, fruitful communication. I remember saying to my students more times than I can count, “Think before you speak”. Using the acronym “THINK” (Is it True? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind?) to guide which thoughts we will say out loud and how we will say them is a great tool. Communication is the key to building positive relationships with others. I applaud the consideration and attention you paid to each word you chose when writing this book!