"Are you cut out to be a gelato?" Well, I thought, being a gelato with absolutely no fat doesn't really fit me at my present age and circumstance. A frozen yogurt perhaps. Focused on healthy, soft and sweet...I'd rather be that, I think. Just, please, don't throw me in the full fat ice cream column. That would be depressing. And then I read the article.
Talenti Gelato has created an app that analyzes the algorithms of the words you use on your social media pages and transfers them to correspond with flavors, and all who participate have a chance at seeing their unique flavor personalities in the new Talenti Gelato flavors lineup. This could be fun! And then my thoughts went further.
A lot has been said about the power of words, and my best source, the Bible, even associates words with flavors: "Words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." And "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." By contrast, it also reflects the hurtful nature of words: "The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body." Some translations use the word "gossip" instead of "whisperer". Educated and conscientious people, regardless of religious preference, can agree that words are used to heal and to hurt. My campus recently focused on the use of, or rather abandoning the use of, sarcasm. Oops. "Here we go...," some muttered.
Sarcasm. I grew up on it, am pretty good with it; it's a part of (what I think is my award-winning humorous side) my personality, and (for real) I'm working on banishing it from my thinking. You do realize it originates in your thinking, don't you? I remember telling my teenage daughter (so glad we made it through those years), "You can think anything you want about me, but it better not come out of your mouth!" And that was usually thundered with a monstrous angry mother growl, and followed by her eye rolls, which led to a conversation about how her eyes would get stuck like that if she kept doing it. Sometimes I'd encourage her to just try and make that same silly face in the mirror, until (hopefully) we could laugh our way to the car and start the day on a more positive note. I was wrong.
In my years of teaching a variety of students from diverse cultures, I have come to realize that very often people simply don't understand the intent behind sarcastic remarks. I come from a family involved in the oil-related construction business, which means that more than 20 of my family members have traveled the globe, living among people of differing cultures and various mindsets, speaking languages other than English. Sarcasm doesn't translate easily. And honestly, when it relates to the people I love the most, my family and friends, or the students I teach, the people on my campus, or the people I deal with every day, why would I continue to build walls with my words? Numerous articles relate the damaging nature of sarcasm. Just "google it" for yourself and see. I'm not trying to condemn anyone for using it, but we know more now. In the same way that we wear seatbelts, discourage smoking, and eat healthy food, knowledge holds the power of change. -- and really, aren't we ALL on a mission to make the world a better place? Surely everyone can agree that accomplishing that one monumental task, changing our tone, must begin at home.
When my principal began the year with a challenge to eliminate sarcasm campus-wide and our school began the year with a mantra to "Speak Life," I joined the bandwagon. It was timely because I was getting the same package at church, "Sarcasm trains your spirit NOT to believe...hinders your faith." I became mindful, however, that my sacrcastic mouth was still at work in my mind even when I bottled those words refusing to release them. -- And so I am inviting my community of readers and followers to join me in a new challenge.
They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. We've heard the Chinese proverb (paraphrased): "Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words....your words lead to your habits....habits become your character, and your character becomes your destiny." So, I'm inviting my readers and followers to join me in this new 40 day challenge as we enter a new school year: Let's speak life FIRST in our thought life this year. Let's capture the sarcasm, the negative thoughts that arise, the frustrations that come, and replace them in our minds with something positive. When you hear the remark in your head first, replace it there. Then say it. Say the sweet thing, the compliment, the redirect, or (if you must) nothing.
So, if our social media postings were filled with flavor, because they really are, what would they say about us? Talenti Gelato wants to know. The good news is that they won't start analyzing us until we click the link and start the 5 week clock. There's still time to commit to change. Maya Angelou so eloquently said it best, "I did then what I knew how to do, but now that I know better, I do better." Let's do it. Let's begin the school year on such a flavorful note that our words bring life to campus and all that we encounter.
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