Yesterday, my friend and co-author, Wendy Speake, and I chatted about the the things we say that we know are damaging to our kids' spirits. We bravely and honestly acknowledged--confessed--that we need to rescript the things we say to our children in triggered moments. We continue to navigate our own weaknesses in mothering and desire to speak life into our children's lives.
We may all know what not to say. We may even know what to say. Yet, old habits die hard. The quick words that pierce roll all too easily off our tongues:
"I've told you a million times already! Why can't you just....."
"When will you ever learn?"
"Come on, this math problem is so easy!"
"You are getting on my last nerve!"
"Other kids don't do these kinds of things!"
"You had your chance but you blew it."
The words flow with such easy treachery, but in order to stop, we must BEGIN somewhere.
Yesterday, I snapped this picture of my son at preschool. We had just learned about germs and how they are invisible, but they can spread wide and far, making others sick if we don't cover our mouths. I can't help but draw a parallel here. Words that wound can be more harmful than germs. In both cases, perhaps we just need to cover our mouths. Maybe that's the place that some of us need to begin.
The Bible has something to teach us in this regard:
"Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble." (Proverbs 21:23)
"Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!" (Psalm 141:3)
"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless." (James 1:26)
The first step, friends, may be to just keep our mouths shut. It's practicing that holy pause; a spiritual discipline to cease reacting so we can eventually practice gentle biblical responses. Let's cover our mouths. And as we invite the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts, search for any offensive way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting (Psalm 139), we become transformed. Yes, perhaps the first step is to stop.
May the love of Christ germinate within us and bring forth healing on our tongues.