Think Before You Speak

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, sort of slogging around through a toxic sludge of negativity, not super pleased with being in my own headspace. (Probably not thrilling those around me either, for that matter.) Overall, I’ve just felt primed to go dark. Here’s a small example: On the Teacher’s Room bulletin board, someone wrote, “What are you looking forward to in 2022?” Others had already responded, writing things like, “To thrive, not just survive” or “My son’s wedding” etc. My immediate knee-jerk response (internal thankfully, since the filter held this time and I didn’t say or write it) was “June 15th”. That just happens to be the last day of school. So, you get the picture.

Anyway, last week, I was walking down the hallway at school, stewing in my own negativity, when I happened to look up and see this bulletin board.

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I’ve seen it before, but this time, I stopped and read through it, line by line.

As I read, I thought about the things that have been coming out of my mouth lately: Complaints. Snarky comments. Pessimism. (Just to be clear, the audience to all of this is primarily adults–friends, family and colleagues (sorry, everyone!)– not students. But still.)

So I stood in front of the bulletin board and considered.

Think Before You Speak

is it True? Well, yes, what I say is generally true (though perhaps I’ve been catastrophizing a bit.)

is it Helpful? Um…maybe not so much

is it Inspiring? Oh. No question there. Definitely not.

is it Necessary? Probably not.

is it Kind? Well, it’s not un-kind …



I bumped into two colleagues a little while later and mentioned thinking about the sign.

“Oh, that’s a great bulletin board,” one of them said.

“Yeah,” I said, “I used to have it in my classroom. After reading and thinking about it today, I realized I find the poster and put it back up. I also realized that, in the meantime, I mostly just need to stop talking.”

They laughed.

But I wasn’t totally joking.

The next day, out of the blue, a text arrived with a photo from a distant friend (who courtesy of that distance honestly hasn’t been forced to listen to my negativity).

Clearly the universe is sending me a message.

I’ll look for the poster tomorrow.

17 thoughts on “Think Before You Speak

  1. Lainie Levin says:

    Ohhh I FEEL this for sure. I have lots of snarky comments that run through my head, and it takes everything I’ve got some days to keep those thought bubbles from turning into speech bubbles.

    I’ve also had to give myself some forgiveness on those days, to allow myself room to think mean or rude or inconsiderate things. I’m only human, and sometimes that means I’m going to let my ego or mean side get a hold of me. It’s made me better equipped to shake it off.

    Here’s to hoping BOTH of our filters hold strong!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda Potts says:

    Oh yes! I’ve been having a hard time being positive – and I’m usually very positive! I swear! I wonder what might happen if I stopped letting myself voice all of those thoughts? Not to the point of becoming Pollyanna, but maybe if I just didn’t put so many words around those ones & just sat with them a bit? Hmm… I think that you are inspiring me with the sign that inspired you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      These are tough times, Amanda. Sigh. I really am going to dig around to find that poster and put it up. I definitely need the reminder to pause before I put all the negative vibes out in the world. Hang in there!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. margaretsmn says:

    I have to find mine. I remember putting it up when I had a difficult student who was not very kind. I was not very kind in response. Keeping negative thoughts out of your speech is a daily struggle for many of us. We can all use a reminder once in a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, the new year is here and perhaps a change of tone is warranted. It is interesting that two of these signs crossed your path. The poster holds some steps for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. maryleehahn says:

    I’m chuckling, but I think the Universe needs for more than just you to ponder this poster. (Yes, I had it in my classroom, too! I loved it when students would use it to correct each other. That’s when I knew it wasn’t just wallpaper.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I tend to vent on Twitter, talking into the wind because it literally goes nowhere. I do like throwing some good vibes out there as well because the world needs that too. Snarky comments at a certain political party who is trying to micromanage education also does my mind good too.

    Not going to lie, the “June 15th” thought made me giggle a little too much. Thank you for putting into words what many of us are thinking right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. katswhiskers says:

    I think the text was an affirmation. You’re on the right track! Go get it, girl. That kind of thing. 🙂 Either way, I can relate to your funk. I think the last two years have caught up with me. Perhaps it’s a good thing that I’ve not been around too many people of late. (Including my husband, who is off getting his wings.) I’d hoped to write lots, in his absence. But I think I’ve just needed some down time. (And today, as I wandered a blustery beach, a PB that has alluded me for two weeks, has finally started to unravel… I think.)

    Hoping you find your joy soon, Molly. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      That joy definitely peeks around the corner now and again, Kat. Like when I feel connections across the globe. I really appreciate your lens of viewing the poster as an affirmation rather than a rebuke!


  8. Debbie Lynn says:

    I came across this poster for the first time in a classroom I subbed in and LOVE it, because…well, I have that problem of not thinking before I speak. In my last years of teaching (without knowledge of this poster), my mantra was James 1:19…be quick to listen, slow to speak. I am still my worst enemy! You’ll make it to June 15th…one day at a time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Molly, this post got buried! My bad. Hannah repeats this regularly. No surprise there. Now on your last day before spring vacation. Did the poster’s message help you deal with the last four weeks? Plans for your vacation week? We hear it is unseasonably warm today in York!


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