"Aeschylus, the ancient Greek playwright, held that there was suffering so great that, even in our sleep, it dripped upon the heart until ‘in our own despair, against our will,’ comes a terrible wisdom.”
I have a terrible wisdom.
I did not ask for it. I did not want it. I got it through suffering unbearable pain as a child. At seven, my father shot my mother with a shotgun at a three-foot range across our dining room table. I carried the images, sounds, and smells of that night into every waking moment of my life. No adult said one word to me about the experience I'd had, even though the whole community knew what'd happened. A rage grew inside me as I witnessed the ineptitude of adults. Through that pain, I gained an uncanny emotional intelligence. I vowed, as an adult, I would be the teacher I'd never had and say the words I'd never heard. As one miracle after another happened in my classroom, I realized I'd been given a precious gift - the gift of words.
If you are a teenager, parent, teacher, principal, a leader of any kind, or a whole assembly of students, I can teach you words I know that will improve the quality of your relationships.