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Dave Weber, of Weber Associates, delivers his zany presentation about Sticks & Stones Exposed: The Truth Behind Words and Relationships at Thursday's convocation for educators with Stanly County Schools

Convocation reveals truth on words, relationships

Only four days away from when SCS students resume classes for the 2018-19 school year and their teachers were treated to a hilarious presentation with a serious message.

Thursday marked a rare convocation for educators of Stanly County Schools. They filled the Stanly County Agri-Civic Center for the zany antics of Dave Weber who taught them a lesson about building relationships for a culture conducive to learning.

A self-professed “Chihuahua on caffeine,” Weber bounced around the auditorium like an aerobics comedian as educators laughed hysterically at his animations. A cross between Richard Simmons and Joel Osteen, Weber brought both energy and motivation to teachers with his “Sticks & Stones Exposed: The Truth Behind Words and Relationships.”

He was quick to expose the rest of the Sticks & Stones adage with the truth.

He called the “words will never hurt me” part of a familiar youth saying a “lie.”

Words matter, he said, especially when it comes to relationships. Just as words of encouragement can be uplifting, hurtful words often lead to toxic consequences.

“Words impact relationships,” he said. “These relationships impact culture. Culture impacts results.”

Not only is it critical for educators to choose constructive words when talking with students, but it’s equally as important to be respectful with co-workers to avoid a toxic culture, he said.

Weber pointed to a quote by Harvard (University’s) Principals’ Center.

“The most powerful predictor of student achievement is the quality of relationships among staff.”

Like everyone, students and teachers want to be accepted. They need to belong, which explains why some people stay in unhealthy relationships and why teens often turn toward gangs, he said.

Weber introduced “The 7 Me’s I am” as he illustrated how perceptions can become skewed, even among oneself.

The Me’s include:

• The me I think I am;

• The me others see;

• The me I used to be;

• The me I want to be:

• The me I really am.

• The me others try to make me; and

• The me I try to project.

Life’s experiences affect an individual’s perceptions, he said, therefore, influencing behavior toward others.

At times, it’s necessary to modify behavior to help another, he said.

How people talk and treat one another is the foundation of the culture in an organization, like a school, he said.

Therefore, stakeholders must learn to forgive and avoid creating barriers that foster divisiveness, he said.

SCS Superintendent Jeff James reminded those present at the two-hour session that as teachers they are the “most important people in Stanly County.”

“You are the most important person in a child’s life,” James said. “It’s a calling, not a profession.”

Contact Ritchie Starnes at 704-754-5076 or ritchie.starnes@stanlynewspress.com.