What we say matters. In fact, it matters so much the Bible says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit”. Proverbs 18:21.
What are your words eating?
Especially the words you speak to your children or spouse? Are you eating life or death? Because what you eat, they eat too.
I grew up in a home where words were on the menu but not as a tasty dish. Words were used as a weapon, to break down rather than build up. Coming to Christianity later in life, I knew all too well the power of criticism in my own life. I was a wreck after high school with no clear direction and no sense that I was good at anything. Somehow, I pulled myself up and began to make a life in the performing arts and made a pretty good success of it. But not because my family believed in my dreams and gave me the freedom to believe in them myself. I just had to carve it out and go do it, find the drive within and create my own reality as I went along. I realized I was good at something. I was smart. I could do stuff, important stuff.
Later on, I remember one of my siblings telling me they always thought I was the smart one. What? You’re kidding me! Why didn’t anyone ever tell me that! I thought all along I wasn’t smart at all. It wasn’t till years later that I realized I was not stupid. I tell my whole story thoroughly in my book, Growing Great Kids which is available here: http://amzn.to/uMJdo0.
The moral of the story? What we say matters. Every. Single. Word. The spoken word is the creative word and with every word we speak we are creating either life or death. Hope or despair. Belief or doubt. The choice is yours but the choice will cost you if you make the wrong one.
With one sentence God spoke the universe into existence.
God said…..let there be light…
The entire universe burst into existence. Stars scattered across the sky and light pierced the darkness.
Here are six things you can do today for your children:
- Speak life!
- Call out your child’s gifts!
- Decree truth over their lives.
- Build them up, for destiny’s sake.
- Speak to them as if their lives have a purpose.
- Talk to them like they’re going somewhere.
Children look up to their parents. We are the supreme authority in their little lives and they will believe whatever we tell them. Especially when they are small, what we say carries great weight and will form the very foundation of how they think about themselves.
Here’s a snippet from the chapter entitled “The Power of a Parent’s Words” from Growing Great Kids:
“The way we speak to our children impacts who they are. Children hear everything we say and they take what we say as the absolute truth. Positive, encouraging words of affirmation lovingly spoken can set a firm foundation for a child and enable them to grow into a secure adult, unafraid to pursue their dreams and goals. Critical and harsh words damage the very core of who a child is. Toxic words can poison a person’s future and stunt their destiny. They grow up believing they are stupid, lazy, fat, etc. Ladybird Johnson said, “Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.” And I would add, what you say about them. What are your words telling your child about your belief in them? Do you believe they can change the world? Then tell them!
What do your words say about your child? Are you speaking life or death to their dreams and desires, talents and gifts? Belittling and teasing them or building them up? If God created the universe with a word, does it make sense then to believe there is creative power in our words as well? “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!” (James 3:5). It’s a ‘little member’ but its power to influence others for good or for evil is far greater than its small size!”
Two other dangers lurking in our words are comparing one child to another and also, how we speak about others especially our spouse. Your words will cause children to form opinions of those you talk about so be very, very careful what you say.
I’ll leave you with another snippet from Growing Great Kids that I hope will help you in your parenting journey.
Say What You See
”I always believed it was essential to say to Franny what I saw. As God showed me things and gave me a sense of her calling, I began to speak it out over her. Mike and I have always encouraged her in everything she’s done. We always told her she was an excellent student, she was smart and talented, she had a beautiful voice, she was a great songwriter, etc. We also continually emphasized God had a great plan and destiny for her life. Now, as she and her husband are new parents to a beautiful little boy, I tell her she is a great mom. God has shown it to me and I know it’s true!
I felt it so important when she was a young girl to remind her she had a powerful destiny in the Lord and she was born for such a time as this. I also affirmed she was a world changer. I truly believed those things and I knew in my heart they were right even when I didn’t know what shape they were going to take. The fruit of it is, she believed it! She is a world changer.
Her future is limited only by God and He is limitless!
The same is true of your child. Every child on this planet has a divine future and unique destiny. As God begins to show it to you, speak it out over your child. Say what you see! At night when you are praying with them, while driving them to soccer practice, around the kitchen table, always be speaking words of affirmation and possibility to them. Decree and declare destiny and success over their lives. There is great power in a parent’s blessing! And if they know you believe it, they’ll believe it too!”
So, what’s on your ‘word menu’ today? I’d love to hear how words have shaped your life and what part they play in your parenting. Your comments are always helpful and such a blessing to me (and others) as I read them. My list of 6 things is just the beginning. What’s on your list?