Middle School Boys Discover the Weight of Their Words

“Our boys are sifting through a lot of intensity in the world around them and the onslaught of hateful words they are hearing has become so prevalent they are becoming desensitized to them,” said Spanish Department Chair Samara Spielberg.
To teach the boys just how powerful their words are Señorita Spielberg and Fourth Grade Teacher Sarah Luposello created a lesson that they used with each of the Middle School grades on Friday, November 16. The ninth graders helped facilitate the lesson with the fourth graders. 
Señorita Spielberg explained: “It was important for our boys to write, visualize, explore, and then discuss as a group the impact their words have on each other and their environment. No matter what is going on in the world, our School is our refuge and safe space. Allen-Stevenson is our second home. We need to make sure that each of us is making purposeful contributions to the good of our community and culture. The biggest takeaway of the exercise for the boys was realizing that on a given day we hear more insults than compliments. Once this became clear, we were able to talk about why human beings lean more towards the negative and what we can do to change that. We hope that this allowed them to see that they can make a change in our community in both big and small ways, all the way down to the simple words that they speak.”
“I also wanted to debunk the myth that ‘boys will be boys’ and therefore should keep their emotions locked away. Despite perceptions, boys do not only know how to show their love through playful, teasing banter. Our boys have the desire and emotional intelligence to demonstrate their care for one another and those around them by clearly articulating their feelings. When given the space to do so, our boys leaned into discomfort and came out better for it. Their willingness to be extremely vulnerable was unbelievably powerful. I don’t know if I would have felt safe enough to do so at their age. It is a testament to the closeness of our community,” added Señorita Spielberg.
“It really was incredible to watch the boys give one another compliments. The change in their body language, the expressions on their faces, and the overall shift in energy in the room was palpable and heartwarming. It is worth watching the video just to see the power of this simple human interaction and can hopefully serve as a reminder of how our words can make others feel.”
“I also hope for the boys’ sake that conversations like this are continued at home. We posed the question: Do you think words are more like boomerangs or like dominoes? Why? This is a great place for parents to start.”

Allen-Stevenson’s distinctive “enlightened traditional” approach educates boys to become scholars and gentlemen.