Personalising things, people, situations makes emotions run high. Personalisation can be a bad thing (e.g. someone opposes my opinion, I think she is opposing me).
It is often a good thing, too. Whenever great upheavals have happened, history has documented passionate men and women who have personalised the cause. Made it their mission.
The same thing can be seen in everyday life. My five year old niece is not interested in gardening. Her mom, avid gardener has tried to get her interested in gardening. No luck. Last week we gave her a potted plant. Did a naming ceremony. Now little Anouska dotes on the green plant, on every little bud that sprouts from the tender stem.
Whenever I visit a school, I try and get a student to show me around. I find they are more frank, opinionated and more aware of the subtleties in the school culture than are teachers. I look out for how they refer to the school and their teachers. Is it My School? Or The School? Or no pronoun use at all- Just ‘school’?
That tells me a lot about what kind of school it is.
It seems I have a new friend who uses this technique too. Robert Reich, former secretary of Labour notes,
“For six months now, I’ve been visiting the workplaces of America, administering a simple test. I call it the “pronoun test.” I ask frontline workers a few general questions abut the company. If the answers I get back describe the company in terms like “they” and “them,” then I know it’s one kind of company. If the answers are put in terms like “we” or “us,” I know it’s a different kind of company”
Thanks Hoopscoach for the tip.
Here’s a cartoon on Teachers and on Pronouns 🙂
I had to smile at the Grandmother above. I can be like her sometimes.