If only words could kill… this thought ran through my mind as I sat across a friend who was relentlessly dishing out all her husband’s flaws over breakfast. After she finished recounting one incident, it led to the next and another.
As she went on, it was clear to me that my friends were also feeling uncomfortable. Even though she didn’t mind revealing so much details of her marital unhappiness, I wasn’t sure we were prepared to hear all that.
When she finally stopped to catch her breath, there was an uncomfortable silence in the air as my girlfriends and I looked back and forth at each other awkwardly. Surely, my disgruntled friend was expecting us to stand in solidarity with her. But not wanting to fan the flames, everyone said nothing because silence is sometimes the best antidote to quieten the angry waves crashing on our hearts.
I’m not here to judge my friend and I get that there are days when all we need is a good ranting session to get it all out. To have someone to air our grievances to and get it off our chest.
Cutting Words That Hurt and Destroy
That morning was a reminder that I have often been unkind in my words towards those closest and dearest to me, like my family. It also made me think about how our words hold so much power to either uplift them or tear them down.
And undeniably, I’ve uttered words I’m ashamed of in the moment of anger. Words that cut and hurt right to the core.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21
In fact, last week was one of those days where my fury unleashed the worst of me when I crushed Sophie with the weight of my words over what seemed so insignificant on hindsight.
Even though, I felt justified that Sophie deserved to be reprimanded, my choice of words was hurtful and toxic and I could tell when she sniffled under her blanket and became very silent.
Life Giving Words That Heal
The next day, I sat her down and we evaluated our attitude and behaviour. We agreed that we should have reacted better even though we were angry. Blaming it on our emotions is not a good excuse for speaking rudely and we should always have control over our tongue and words.
We resolved to be more mindful in our attitude and apologised to each other because even parents are not above reproach when we’ve crossed the line. And the honest truth is that I sometime feel like a fraud for writing about being kind in our words when I’ve failed so many times. I’m thankful that Sophie has a big heart and this is all bridge under waters, but I never want to take it for granted.
So parents, let’s pick ourselves up and not allow these setbacks to discourage us or keep us down. We can come before God and submit our heart’s cry to Him who will give us strength and grace for this parenthood journey.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
Words that Edify, Elevate and Encourage
To take it a notch higher, I’m going to be guided by these 3 Es in my speech.
Edify. Elevate. Encourage.
To build up, lift up and give confidence and hope.
If we as adults need encouraging and affirming words, what more our children.
So I’m putting up this poster of positive affirmations in Sophie’s room so that we can read this every night before she goes to bed. May these life giving words water her soul as I gently affirm her, that she is loved no matter what, highly esteemed and we are so very proud of her. Words that will build her self confidence and help her grow in her identity in Christ.
Affirmation poster printable -> Click here
If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share my heart about parenting.
- Letting our children author their lives
- Failing to be a patient mum, again
- When your child doesn’t fit into a mould
- What my child will remember about me
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