As I continued the conversation, it was clear they believed that not one of them was gay, therefore that comment really didn’t offend anyone of the players on the team. I asked them to tell me how they knew for sure that no one on the team was gay? There was silence — none knew with certainty.
I continued with the discussion, "If you were gay, how willing would you share that knowledge with your teammates?" They shook their heads immediately. They all admitted that, given the nature of the discussion, the comment was really not appropriate/
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In the end, I realized that no one had ever taken the time to explain why it was inappropriate. They believed it was okay to joke in that fashion and there was little, if any, harm to anyone.
They were confused, as it seemed like the only thing to say in certain moments. So I shared with them a number of other words they could use instead. Here are some of them: absurd, ridiculous, pathetic, annoying, disgusting, goofy, and asinine. 10 Reasons Why Teens Are Angry
Author Don Miguel Ruiz's acknowledges the importance of words and has authored a book called The Four Agreements. The first agreement says for us to be "impeccable with our words." When we take the time to help young teens understand words, the power they have, and how the words they chose reflect the type of person they are, we help create a more compassionate generation.
It is time to stand up to those words in order to do right by numerous youth who are doing all they can just to simply survive and live the best life they possibly can. If we don't, then who will? If not now, when?
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Coach Randy Nathan, MSW, PCC is a professional coach who works with middle school, high school, and college-aged students, their parents and their families. Through the powerful coaching process he inspires and motivates them to overcome major challenges and transitions as well as identify relevant opportunities in their life. Coach Randy writes for numerous publications and travels throughout the country as a motivational keynote speaker and workshop facilitator. He is the creator of Operation PRIDE, The LEAP Program, Peak Performance Coaching, Career JumpStart, and Workforce 2.0 - powerful programs for millennials. For more information go to www.projectnextgen.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.