Death and life are in the power of the tongue…
Our words have power. The words that we say can either lift someone up or tear them down. Words can hurt and they can completely completely crush someone’s spirit. But they can also be used to mend and bring encouragement. Parents, this is especially true about the words we use when we are talking to or about our children. When I’m out and about, I often hear parents talking about their kids in passive conversations with comments like, “Oh, she’s never going to understand math.” or “He’s just being a brat today.” While these remarks might not be said intentionally, they speak negativity and express a low level of expectations for their children.
Almost immediately after announcing our pregnancy, my husband and I were swarmed with advice from so many well-meaning people. Most people advised Jimbob and I to expect the worst out of our new little bundle of joy. They would “prepare” us with stories that included all the negative aspects of raising kids. In particular, we were told many horror stories about the awful things that toddlers do in the “terrible twos” stage. Before I even became a mama, I made the promise to never call the toddler stage the “terrible twos”. Long ago, God laid it on my heart to be conscious of the words that I used when talk about my family. I wanted to speak life over my kids and always communicate messages that lifted them up. Instead of the “terrible twos”, I started calling this stage of life the “terrific twos”.
Now, our daughter is two and a half. She is a ball of energy, constantly exploring, and just overall full of life. She does throw fits pretty regularly when she doesn’t get her way. She gets cranky when she needs a nap. When she is frustrated she yells – loudly. At any given point, she can be everything that the term “terrible twos” encompasses. BUT – she is also so compassionate. She is kind and loving. When she sees someone crying or hurt, she always wants to help them. She is so silly and can make her daddy and mommy laugh like no one else can. She is creative, imaginative, and brave. She loves Jesus and knows that He loves and saved her. I would be devastated if someone saw her in the middle of a meltdown and labeled her as a “terrible” two-year-old. She is so much more than her difficult moments, and so are the kids in your life.
Any time that I think about the words that I use, I am reminded of Psalm 19:14. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, LORD, my rock and my Redeemer. I often use this verse as a prayer. May everything I say about others, especially my children, be pleasing to the Lord. It is my prayer that God would be happy with what I have to say when I talk to or about my kids.
I say all of that to tell you this: our words have power. The things that we choose to say to and about our kids matter. I am not saying we should sugar-coat parenthood. I know it’s not all a walk in the park. I’m just saying that it isn’t all awful, either. Raising children is challenging, but it is also rewarding. Our kids have really terrible days sometimes, but they also have really wonderful days. Friends, it’s our job as parents (or grandparents, aunts, uncles, guardians, etc.) to speak life over our kids. Expect the best from them, and then respond with grace and love when they fall short (because they will). Next time you are tempted to say something negative about your children, try to say something positive instead. Let’s give our kids a good example of how to use words to breathe life over others by starting with how we talk about them. Let’s be intentional in what we say to our precious children. After all, their Heavenly Father made them to be pretty terrific.