“When you have something to say, SAY IT.  Speak your mind and let your voice quiver and shake if it must.  Speak what’s in your heart and if you cry, so be it!  When something is sitting on the tip of your tongue, let it out.  Speak the truth that must be spoken — even if some will rail and flail against it.  Have the courage to speak up.  In whatever way you can, help others to have the courage, too.  When it’s impossible for others to speak on their own, speak on their behalf.  Speak up for the animals, for the children, for the weak, for the sick.  Remember to speak for as often as you speak against.  Speak from a place deep inside, a place that knows what must be spoken.  Keep speaking the truth and know that eventually, somehow, somewhere, someone will listen.”  ~ Rachel Snyder

“Ms. West, I wouldn’t mind being in your class again next year.  I like how you always keepin’ it real. You just say what you feel. I like that.”  ~Spoken by one of my junior English students after I finished delivering a very direct response to a question I had been asked no fewer than eight times in one class period.

My kids know me.  They learned quickly that I would deliver my lessons, my criticisms, my praise and my support in the most honest manner possible.  They need it; secretly, I think they crave it.  I blast them daily for their verbal abuse of others, their laziness, their lack of accountability; and I smother them with accolades when they do the right thing.  They don’t always like what I have to say, but they remember it; they use it, they learn from it.

It is my belief that if more people would just say what they really want to say, there would be fewer misunderstanding.  Just be honest, even if it’s going to hurt.  Be direct and stop sugar-coating your voice.  It isn’t always easy being the one who says what everyone else is thinking, but sometimes it is necessary.  If you don’t allow yourself to speak your mind freely, how do you expect anyone else to?


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