Our leadership students are learning that words and thoughts are things…powerful things.
In the human brain, they are literally chemical and electrical impulses, which are received, sorted, or selected as they fire through neural pathways at very high speeds. Words and ideas are stored and clustered in very specific regions of the brain. The cortex is the outer layer of the brain and is responsible for most high-order thinking. Words are sorted in our brains by associated mechanisms like: similar spellings or meanings, social references, emotional domains, language of origin, etc. As the brain becomes filled up with language and life experience, it is able to babble and chatter independently, subconsciously influencing how and what we feel. We develop the power to command, select, and orchestrate our desired words at the speed of thought.
Learning to think before we speak is a valuable skill. It’s an especially challenging one for elementary children because of inherent developmental ability and related mental and emotional impulsivity. But, children can responsibly learn, practice, and grow into the process as they mature.
What can we do to teach and help our children to think before they speak?