All that was unsaid was greater than what was said

Recently, I started pondering the times in my life when all that was unsaid was greater than what was actually said. Naturally, my first thoughts were of the children that I am blessed to work with on a daily basis.


I learned one of my earliest lessons about this during my teaching internship, nearly 18 years ago. The instructor, whom I was working under, said to me, “Just because a child doesn’t speak, does not mean that he has nothing to say.” I remember those words like it was yesterday, and that statement has affected the hundreds of families that I have worked with ever since.

Respecting the concept that words are not the only way children communicate, has taught me that there is an entirely new level of listening available to us as educators and parents.

My students are constantly communicating with me through their smiles, laughter, hand-flapping, feet-stomping, refusals to participate, fixations on their favorite activities for hours on end, hugs, kicks, jumps, screams, random eye-contact, squeals, and squeezes.

Some children do speak, of course, and yes, that’s such a gift.  But for those children who don’t use words we can hear, they are still speaking to us in a million other ways.


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