When I first sat in our church’s mom’s ministry group almost ten years ago I had a fairy tale idea of how well behaved and loving my children would be. The leader talked about how her boys would fuss or argue when they were younger. As I sat there thinking of my new four-month-old in the nursery I thought, there is no possible way she will ever act like that! Faster than I could imagine I had a sassy two-year-old standing in my kitchen with her hand on her hip telling me, NO! And it seems like even faster than that I now have a nine-year-old, seven-year-old and five-year-old who fuss with each other. Maybe you know the fussing I’m talking about? The fussing where they press each other’s buttons, boss one another around, or simply try to stand their ground. I have used several “mom tricks” along the way to help them think about their words including some advice from that early lesson by having the kids taste vinegar and honey. Afterward we read Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (NKJV). The taste difference between the vinegar and honey really got their attention to how their words should be.
Recently one of my Facebook friends posted an article, How to Build a Sweet Home, by Lisa Jacobson.
I thought her idea in the post would be a wonderful way to remind my children about using sweet words and building each other up. They were so excited to build their very own sugar cube house and spent lots of time decorating it and designing it. They each took turns adding unique features. After we built the house we discussed our words and how they build each other up or tear each other down. We discussed how our words should be so sweet just like those sugary cubes. I told them as the week went on the sugar cubes would stay put or they would be taken away as I heard unkind words. Needless to say, the house did not remain intact. Someone would say something in an angry tone, down came a cube. Someone would blame another, down came a cube. Someone would tease another, down came a cube. They quickly realized that their beautiful creation was being torn apart. Again, a great lesson that we discussed about how our words can affect others and tear them apart and make them feel sad.
This was also a great lesson for me as it kept me on my toes about my words to them and to my husband. How was I responding to them? Were my own words sugary sweet, patient, and kind? Was I building them up? I can say many times words have flown out of my mouth that I know have hurt my kids, and I have quickly apologized. Many times I have had to fall back on Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (ESV). I know that the way I respond to my children is a direct example to them on how they should respond to others. Daily I pray that my kids will love each other and others in the way they speak, something that will also come with maturity as well. Everyday I pray Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of OUR mouths and the meditation of OUR hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (ESV).
Moms, our words literally have the power of life and death (Prov. 18:21). The way we live this out in front of our kids is very important. So as we think about loving one another during this Valentine’s Day weekend, let’s think how we can love our kids, husbands, and friends better with our words. Let’s think about how we can teach our kids better about words and how sweet they should be, how to properly respond in different situations, and how to control our tongues.
How are you building your kids up this week with your words?
How are you training them to build others up with their words?
Do you have any other practical ideas for teaching our children to use kind words? Please share them with us in the comment section!