When I was young, in the 70’s, I recall a book called Free to be You and Me. In that book, my mom had it on her shelf, they talked about the emotions of people and how they have an impact for good or bad. The good things we tell people were calm warm fuzzies, the negative things were called cold pricklies. The idea was that is people heard more warm fuzzies, it would come around and make the whole world a better place. I love the concepts of the 70’s. This philosophy is true with adults and kids. I have seen it exemplified with my students time and time again. I have seen kids that were social problems on the playground and in the classroom turn around and be better kids because I purposefully gave them warm fuzzies ie; “I like your shirt today!”
Making a conscious effort to speak these out to your students can yield huge rewards. Even if it doesn’t right away, you are making the child’s life more bearable, less stressful. If you knew some of the home stories of my kids, you would understand why they need warm fuzzies. Try an experiment the next day you work. Print a student list and put it somewhere where you have easy access during your teaching. Highlight the difficult kids. As you go to and fro teaching, give compliments and other positive words to those highlighted kids. If you have time, work toward getting to the other kids. Ultimately and ideally you can get to the whole class in a day. I’ve done it before though it isn’t easy. The rewards are huge but the main reward is that you will like yourself better. That’s right, by giving our warm fuzzies, you actually produce warm fuzzies for yourself. As Shel Silverstein described a Hug of War where “everybody wins,” so is the end result of sharing positive words and sentences with your student. All children need it but especially the troubled kids. Try it, you will be making a huge difference for your students and yourself.