I was talking to my 5 year old on the phone yesterday and he told me about having to get his immunization shots last week. He started with a bit of a tremble in his voice and said, "at the docter I had to get two shots". Immediately I wanted to say, "were you scared?" but that wasn't the message I wanted to convey, I wanted him to be strong and brave and grown up about it, so instead I asked, "Were you brave?" I felt that it changed the whole direction of the conversation, instead of him telling me about how afraid he was and how it hurt, he told me he was brave for the first shot, but "not brave" for the next one. It's strange to see how a small change in the choice of words can have an affect on how someone thinks about and looks at a situation. There are so many phrases that mean the same thing, yet could be rephrased to be more positive.
Were you afraid? Were you brave?
What place did you finish? Did you try your hardest?
At the moment nothing else is coming to my mind, but there are lots that I have thought of. Maybe I need to start writing them down when I have these kinds of thoughts.