The importance of speaking with good purpose

Mr. Woodman teaches his students an important lesson that goes beyond solving equations.


Photo by Joseph Kamandy

With an increasing lack of respect for one another, it is important to understand the difference between playful teasing and being disrespectful.

Story by Ruby Castellanos, Staff Writer

It has become difficult to identify the difference between playful teasing and an insult. This problem has become especially true in teenagers as constant verbal disrespect outnumbers words of kindness. When someone is joking, it shouldn’t be offensive and hurtful, it should be laughable.

I have millions of stories where people didn’t speak good about me. Even just growing up, it affected me,”

— Mr. Woodman


    Mr. Woodman, an algebra teacher, decided to take a break from math one day to teach his students an important lesson on speaking with good purpose since it was a key focus of the month. 

   “I feel like Mr. Woodman’s lesson on speaking with good purpose was all true. Sometimes people will tell you something that you will try to play off as just something minor but in reality, you still feel some sort of way that discourages you,” Marlo Hough (11) said.

  An insult is oftentimes only a mere projection of one’s feelings towards oneself, but words that are hurtful to others tend to stay with them longer than a happy memory since negative and positive information is processed differently in the mind. An article on LiveScience explains how a bad memory tends to resonate more than a positive one: when a person gets insulted they replay that moment over in their minds to the point where it becomes a permanent mark.

   “I have millions of stories where people didn’t speak good about me. Even just growing up, it affected me. Even to this day, I still think about it,” said Mr. Woodman, an algebra teacher.

    Playful teasing is common within groups of friends, but it would be better if there was a balance between playful teasing and hurtful teasing. When something is said towards someone there has to be a certainty that it won’t hurt the person it’s being directed to. Sometimes our own selves have to speak more positively towards others, something to make them know people care. It is difficult to understand what really goes on behind a person’s laugh or smile. They could be having a bad day and a deprecating joke could make them feel worse.              

   “Spreading good vibes is one of the best feelings you can ever achieve. In the long run, it makes you feel better about yourself, and it helps you become a better person,” Tommy Nguyen (10) said.

   People who use negative self-talk tend to project their negativity on other people because they are unhappy with themselves. It’s ironic how people try so hard to please others but also talk to themselves with so much hate. Try to make a difference by stopping to consider the effect of your words first. If it’s hurtful, don’t say it. Compliment people instead, and make them smile. Everyone needs it.