Think what you are trying to do to me…
This is a line from a powerful Aretha Franklin song from 1968. The word ‘Think’ has also been the slogan for IBM since 1911. The word is powerful. It can also be overpowering and even demeaning if you don’t use it correctly.
Ponder these verbal faux pas:
- You tell a blind person to look out
- You tell a deaf person to listen up
- You tell a quadriplegic to catch this
You simply wouldn’t say those words to those people, right? You are much more compassionate and aware than that. Think again. Have you ever told your dementia sufferer (DS) to just think when you are having trouble communicating? Possibly?
Be careful how you use the word ‘think’ because even using it in a way that you think is constructive may not be. Your DS can’t think like you think. His thinking is slowed, flawed, broken, and, unfortunately, he knows it. So telling him to ‘think’ is sorta like telling a quadriplegic to ‘catch’. Not possible. At least not in the way that you intend it.
Don’t light the fuse of a catastrophic reaction by using a word that doesn’t convey your real meaning. Think before you speak. Think with love and an understanding that words are powerful.
It’s true. We say so many things thoughtlessly. I ask, “Are you listening to me?” My husband is hearing impaired, yet I continue to say such things. The main thing to be aware of, as you suggest, is for us to think before saying anything, a difficult task to master, especially since we have tossed out such remarks and questions for so many years without needing to slow down and consider them beforehand.
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