Life can be enjoyed or destroyed by the power of your tongue. There are heartfelt words of encouragement that brings hope and joy, or cruel offensive words that cut like a knife and destroy lives instantly. Words have been known to create peace, or cause wars. In fact, the choice of words one uses can mean the difference of generating serenity or anger. Take, for instance, the synonyms “be quiet” and “shut-up.” Even though both statements mean exactly the same thing, “be quiet” expresses less antagonism than “shut-up.” Lately, I experienced an ordeal that brought change into my life. This transition was made easier just by the way tactful words were expressed with such thoughtfulness.
Recently, I was waiting in a small hallway outside my boss’s office, the principal at Central Elementary School (CES), with my palms sweating and heart racing from anticipation; I waited to see if I was on the dreadful list. The list consisted of eight names of paraprofessional who would be laid off work. I had worked at CES for two years as a special education paraprofessional. Lately, rumors had spread like wildfire about the upcoming job cuts. Mr. Childers spoke with each paraprofessional individually to let us know if we had a job for the upcoming school year.
As I stood in his cluttered office and not invited to sit down, my heart was beating out of my chest. I was expecting the punitive words, “You’re fired!” Instead, Mr. Childers said with such empathy, “I know you do an excellent job here at CES; however, your name is on the list to be laid off due to the lack of funding for our school.” Those mere three minutes of time which seemed like an eternity, changed the direction of my life.
My heart sank into the dark depths of despair as I stood there in shock. A million thoughts ran through my mind, but only these words were spoken, “I understand and I loved working here for the past two years.”...