Is work a four-letter word? It certainly has four letters. And for many of us (present author not included) work does carry with it all the baggage of the traditional reference to four letter words, specifically profanity. Many people are in jobs they do not find value in.


I recently heard the former CEO of Baxter say he no longer uses the phrase work-life balance. “If you aren’t living at work, you have a big problem.” He now uses the phrase life balance. It’s all part of life.


I have been reflecting recently about what words we use with our students at school when helping them re-engage in an activity that they have already chosen or helping them to latch on to something new. And I have decided that work is not always the word I want to use. Instead, I have suggested to our staff that we start considering asking our students either what they would like to learn or how they would like to make a contribution (or help the class.) I think that both of these expressions are far closer to the experience that our students can relate to and be inspired by.


What words do you use at home? Do you ask your child how he would like to help? What he would like to improve? What he would like to make more beautiful? If he would like to persevere a little longer on a challenge with which he is asking help?


I think these words matter. They are one of the places that we can impart our values to our children. It is subtle, but it is the language that we use with our children that will contribute to the construction of their character.