In English forte has two meanings, depending on the number of syllables used. With two syllables, forte is an adverb meaning ‘loudly’ or a synonym for ‘loud’ derived from the Italian adjective familiar to musicians. With one syllable forte means ‘strength’ or ’talent’, from the French fort meaning ‘strong’.
It is the latter of these which is the theme for this month. #ForteFebruaryHT recognises talents and strengths, rather than volume and intensity, and is our opportunity to celebrate our own strengths and gifts as well as those of others.
Here at Healthy Toolkit HQ we are no great fans of ego. As we have discussed before, it is possible to be ‘loud’ through social media through tone, through semantics, by means of intimidatory language, by butting into threads and by sparking a response from a large following. If we take ‘loud’ in its traditional context, it is frequently the loudest people who are actually the least tolerant, most closed minded and less well informed and who use their volume as a defence mechanism.
Let us however put ego and the decibel count aside. This month is about strength.
Good job applications balance the ‘I’ with the ‘we’ particularly where a team environment is required, as we are in teaching. It is a skill to draw upon one’s own strengths without sounding self-centred. If we consider self-confidence though, and the positive approach we encouraged through our January campaign, then we are able to recognise the strengths we have by picking the positives from each day.
Sometimes however our colleagues and friends will need a confidence boost, not because they are down but because their natural demeanour isn’t one that exudes or promotes what they are good at. They may be the strong but silent type. The power of a ‘thank you’ or a smile can transform a day. Little asides recognise gifts and can give a timely boost to resilience: ‘What a great display!’; ‘I really admired the way you dealt with that situation!’; ‘Thank you for standing up for me!’. Don’t forget there are many qualities that go unrecognised or unacknowledged; when was the last time you told a colleague what a great parent they were, how grateful their partner must be to have them or what an example they set through their conduct.
Don’t forget that it is Valentine’s Day on the 14th. Use this to really recognise the strengths of your most special person. Think outside the staples of ‘card, chocolate, flowers and champagne’! We are however reliably informed that these items do help!
This month we ask you to recognise and acknowledge strength and talent and to share it using our #ForteFebruaryHT hashtag. Bring this concept into your school through your ‘Shout Out’ boards and Positivity Jars.
Recognise others for their talents and tell them. Remember that talent might be on the sporting field or the stage, but equally that talent might be through a kind word, a welcome hug or simply through the confidence that this person is there for you.
Showing off our own talents is tough, but please celebrate your inner strength. We don’t want to be demonstrating an inflated opinion of ourselves. However self-esteem, resilience, strength of character and a positive sense of self is something to promote and be proud of. By the end of the month let us all tweet just one great thing about ourselves, but use the first 27 days to build that character and recognise others.
There is much more content to come this month and as in our previous themed months we are looking for you to share how you have been promoting strength and talent in your setting.
Don’t forget the hashtag #ForteFebruaryHT