I’m starting to forget things. Like I can’t remember if I really wrote a post, or if i just wrote it in my head at some point when I couldn’t get to a computer. So now I am forced to search my own blog to see if I have lost my mind. Not the most comforting feeling.
So I guess what I’m saying here is, if you read something and know that you read it here before, will you kindly send me an e-mail so I can pull whichever post is the least eloquent?
Since I did a search of my own blog and didn’t see this, I will assume it’s new to you. (And at the end you will be thinking Really? This was the post the world couldn’t live without?)
If I could count the number of times I say that phrase, I would be a master mathematician. I say it all the time. When Nick is walking down stairs. When Maggie is riding her bicycle. When Mike leaves for work. When my mom gets on a plane to fly here. When my dad drives here. (About the only thing that doesn’t hear Be careful from me is the rat. Draw your own conclusion.)
And what I have recently stumbled across in one of the many books on childhood learning that I have read, those are the two most wasted words a parent can use.
What does it mean?
Not a whole lot. It means the parent is worrying. Or the parent sees possible danger. It doesn’t mean much to a child. In fact, it can be confusing.
Instead of be careful try saying exactly what you mean – Nick, walk slowly down the stairs. Maggie, watch where you are going on your bike. Saying Be careful is a meaningless command that can startle a child into having a problem. If Nick is going down the stairs and I tell him to be careful, he may stop what he’s doing to look at me and risk tripping by being thrown off his natural rhythm. If I tell Maggie to be careful when she’s riding her bike, she may turn to look at me and steer herself off the road.
Imagine you are working at something and someone said Be careful to you. Do they see something you don’t see? Do they know something you don’t know? Is there danger you should be aware of? Are they simply concerned for you? Is this something you should not be doing? Or do a differently?
Speaking of non-eloquent. This is coming out a bit more jumbled than the fantastic post I had written in my head.
Do you say Be careful often? See if you notice yourself saying it, now that you are paying attention. I still catch myself saying it more than I would like. But I often also catch myself before I say it and come up with a more helpful instruction.
(Incidentally, when I searched “be careful” on my own blog, the post I was searching for did not appear since it hadn’t been written yet, but I did pull up about 10 older posts. I might need to scratch the words “be careful” from my writing too.)