Being social animals, we must set an acceptable standard of behaviour our children can follow.
Being social animals, we must set an acceptable standard of behaviour our children can follow. Photo Contributed

Words hurt, take a minute to think about things

IT'S quite remarkable that we are actually designed to be social animals. Obviously we have survived and thrived over millennia by virtue of our drive to congregate and this has shaped our world.

We have grown from small family groups through to larger tribes and then continued to grow our communities into villages and towns into cities. Throughout we have always had a need to be connected; consciously or unconsciously we want to belong.

There are challenges as we attempt to fit in and we can see this played out in a range of ways and certainly cruelly in the examples that bullying, gender division, harassment, physical, mental and emotional abuse all provide.

I am a values-driven person before I am a coach and facilitator. I am also a man and I believe that I am a good man. It is something that I have applied myself to becoming over several years and through many life-shaping experiences. It also means that I take my role as a community member seriously enough to be involved and contribute.

From my perspective as a member of a community it is critical that we each take responsibility to establish and set standards for behaviour that demonstrate those that we wish for our children and anyone else who comes into or passes through our community.

It is easy to sit on the sidelines and throw comments and, like rocks, arrows and spears, words pierce the person. Words hurt, they damage people and relationships. Whether they are thrown with the intent to wound or mindlessly as with some of the comments you'd hear on the sideline of a sporting match is irrelevant. Words can wound the heart, savage a person's self-esteem, smash their confidence and damage their potential for a lifetime.

I'm a pragmatist and idealist and we all get annoyed or frustrated by people from time to time. What can we do about it that would make communication easier?

The first would be to take responsibility for it. The second would be to set some guidelines for behaviour. The acronym THINK works in most situations and certainly if people were using it we'd have a different level of conversation. Consider: is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind?

We are all members of a community and we are an example to others. Our children observe our behaviour and what we accept they will follow. What sort of a role model do you want to be? THINK about it.

Nick Bennett is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned: