There is an amazing book I have been reading called Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Trip. I am only on chapter 5, but it is really changing my heart and revolutionizing the way I am parenting. For the glory of God, not my own.
I had read a chapter of it so it was fresh on my mind when my daughter and I butted heads over something. She had disobeyed but was also not being kind with her words. Instead of raising my voice or threatening to take away privileges I pulled her into me and sat her on my lap.
Thankfully I allowed the Holy Spirit space to help me and to give me words to encourage my daughter.
I looked her in the eyes and told her that our words have the ability to speak life and also death into someone else’s heart.
Now she is six years old, so at first she looked at me like I was crazy. But I gently said think of your words like fire.
Fire can do good things, but it can also cause severe destruction and death.
Fire heats food making it safe to eat. It provides warmth when it is cold. Fire can also clean and sterilize in certain situations. However, when not used correctly fire can quickly become untamed and out of control. It can burn buildings and homes, and it can kill wildlife through wildfires. Fire also kills people.
Our words are like fire.
Using words can lift others up and speak Truth. You can speak kindly and gently to others (even when frustrated). Then words are good. But when we speak in a way that is unkind or harsh it can hurt those who we are talking to.
I then pointed to my own sin, and asked her how she feels when I raise my voice.
I am far from perfect, but I want to speak life into others with my words, not death. My desire is for my words to reflect Jesus’ love, not Satan’s grip on my heart. So naturally, I would desire for my daughter’s words to do the same. But I can’t make her want to speak with life. I can’t make her desire to think about her words before she speaks them. She has to choose to seek the Lord’s help to change her heart so that her words in turn reflect Him.
How do we teach our kids about the power of our words?
- Through simple conversations just like the one I mentioned above. Meaningful conversations don’t have to be stressful or well thought out and planned for. They can begin organically.
2. Also, using my own mistakes to point to God’s grace and the reason that we need Jesus. I never want to model perfectionism on my own. Perfection is unattainable apart from Jesus.
3. There is no better place for inspiration on our words than God’s true Word. Proverbs has quite a few verses related to our words. They are easy to memorize as well so they can stored in the heart when needed.
A few favorites are:
Proverbs 15:4 “Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Proverbs 16:24 “Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
I pray this encourages you to seek the Lord’s help when choosing what you say, and also as you teach your children about the power of their speech.
In Him, Tamara