Our words. They carry so much weight. They have a way of lifting people up or tearing people down. How we use our words can often be seen in our interactions with loved ones or noticed on our social media accounts.
Our words have power and they matter. In simpler terms, our words can do a lot of good or can cause serious damage.
Yesterday, we were at church attending a big volunteer breakfast. My kids were having a tough morning and I felt pulled in every direction as a mom. One was fighting to eat his food and the other was whining because I didn’t put what he wanted on his plate. It was one thing after the other. I pulled one of my boys aside and thought having a “talk” might straighten things out.
As I tried to encourage him to take some bites of his food he looked at me and said, “I don’t like it. Whoever made this, they are a bad cook.” In that moment, I was very frustrated but tried my best to keep my cool. I began to explain how unkind his comment sounded. I then left him alone for a bit and a few minutes later Robbie went over and debriefed the situation with him.
Robbie told me later on that he asked Kai, “Kai what do your words have?”. And Kai answered, “…..power.” We were glad for his response but Robbie still explained to him that whether he liked the food or not, it still wasn’t very nice to say that whoever made it was a bad cook. His words have power and how he used his words could really hurt the person who made all of the food for our volunteers.
This may seem like a insignificant situation to some. Nobody got hurt or even heard him say it. And fighting to eat is a norm for most kids but we weren’t going to allow a comment that had the potential to hurt someone go unnoticed.
Taking notice of my own words is something I have to practice daily. This is true for my friendships, my marriage, and how I speak to my children. My words matter. They have a way of making someone’s day or hurting someone I love dearly.
There has been plenty of times where I have apologized to my kids for the way I used my words. I’ve used them harshly or impatiently. I’ve even sad hurtful things to my husband before thinking first.
I’ve definitely hurt people with my words. Most of us have, right? Our words have power and this is a lesson that can be learned early on in adolescence. As parents, we can lead by example and talk more openly with our kids about their use of words.
If you find that your kiddos are struggling in this area take a few minutes and sit down as a family this week. Here are some tips that have helped us:
- Discuss the the power of words. Use verses, quotes, and examples to help.
- Maybe even make up a family motto like we did and say it often. For example, “My words have power.” This is very easy for toddlers to remember.
- Talk about how and why our words have power; the good and the bad reasons. Share some of your own personal examples or stories.
- As a family think of ways to show value to people with your words.
A harsh reality in today’s age is not being able to protect our children from situations where they may receive hurtful words. This is unfortunate and scary, but as parents we can take a stand and discuss with our children the power of their own words and how they choose to use them!