A Kindergarten Tale and the Power of Words


Happy Spring! Right now we are on Spring Break. Everyone needs a break. If you ask my kindergartener, he would tell you how his class works harder than everyone.


He often tells me “kindergarten is so hard, all we do is work. I want to go to college it is so much easier.” His voice is always sad and tired when he shares this with me.


If you have kids in school, you know how much things have changed since we were little. Kindergarten used to be about building with blocks, painting, playing with trucks and dolls, having a snack and taking a nap. Nowadays if you can’t read or write in kindergarten, you are already falling behind.


I know my son really likes school. He tells me all sorts of stories and comes home with letters that he and his friends write to each other during “center time.” I am not worried about his attitude towards school, but I did wonder why he thought his class works harder than everyone else.


Every once in a while he comes home with a big piece of “chart paper” that tells the schedule of the day. This paper goes home with the line leader of the day. The schedule tells them what they will be doing, when they will eat lunch and what specials (art, PE, music) they have that day.


The last line of the paper says “We are working very hard in Kindergarten.” I asked my son if the schedule says this everyday and he said “Yes”.


I found this very interesting. I believe the teacher writes this as a way to make the children feel proud of their work and motivate the students. I am sure that many students feel good when they hear they are working hard, but I am guessing that my son is not alone in the feeling that working hard is not fun.


I absolutely love his teacher and this is not a judgment about her at all. I just can’t help but be curious about words and behavior.


I wonder what would happen if she changed the last sentence from “we are working so hard in kindergarten” to “we are having so much fun in kindergarten.” Would changing this statement have any impact on my son’s perspective? I think so. Words are so powerful.


What does this have to do with “befriending your body”? More than you might realize.

Think of how you talk to your body, Think about how you talk to yourself about food and exercise.

What do you say to yourself? Does it motivate you or turn you off?


What sounds better to you?


“I love eating greens because they taste great and give me energy” or “I have to eat greens because they make me healthy.”


“I reduced my sugar intake because my body feels better without it” or “I have to give up sugar because it is making me fat.”


“I feel so much better when I move my body” or “I have to go workout because I ate too much crap yesterday.”


There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. We are all motivated by different words.


If what you are currently saying to yourself doesn’t feel good, you have the power to change your words. I know this might sounds obvious, but we often overlook this simple shift in perspective.


What could you say to yourself that would make you want to take better care of your amazing body? If your first thought makes you feel bad, change it. Keep playing with your words until you find something that feels good.

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The way you stressed making small measurable changes, made the goal appear a lot more attainable. The way you stressed making small measurable changes, made the goal appear a lot more attainable.

Michele Potter
Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture City of Gaithersburg