As children we don’t always realize how our words affect people. If you spend any amount of time on a playground, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Things fly out of their mouths and they may not always understand the damage that has been done through a simple slip of the tongue. But parents, teachers, and family members teach children that they have to be careful of what they say, when they say it, and who they say it to. Hopefully the majority has learned from this instruction, but sadly some may have not.
Our words are so powerful; they can lift a person up or tear someone down, and as parents I think it’s crucial that we are careful with the words we say to both our peers and our children. “You’re not good enough”, you’ll never be able to do that because you’re not smart enough”, and “you’re not worthy of anything good”, are just a few examples of the things that can cut through the heart of a child, and leave a lasting impression on them. If a child hears those things long enough, they begin to believe it. The seed is sown and they feel worthless, unloved, and horrible about whom they are.
Society’s children struggle with low self esteem. Girls are desperate for someone to tell them that they are accepted and they would do just about anything to feel valuable; regardless of what it is. They alter their appearance, dress provocatively, and some become sexually active. They don’t know what it feels like to have genuine love, acceptance, and support from the people in their lives so they resort to the unimaginable. This all stems from the words another speaks to them. Boys also act out because they too struggle with low self esteem. They’ll follow the ways of their friends and get themselves into situations that they cannot get out of. They are in desperate need of feeling accepted and trying to find out where they fit in.
As parents we are supposed to be an example to our children. Not just so they can grow up with a good opinion of themselves but because they watch our every move. For instance, we teach our children to listen carefully when someone speaks to them and also choose their words wisely. This is wonderful advice, however if parents fly off the handle in their own life and speak harshly towards someone in traffic, on the job, or those they come in contact with, they aren’t setting a good example.
We don’t always have control of our situations and the day’s happenings, but we do have control of our response. For instance, when driving if someone cuts you off in traffic it would feel wonderful to yell at them, honk the horn, and at times give them hand gestures that aren’t so nice. Instead of doing this, take a deep breath and do all you can to be patient while remembering that all the negative behavior can’t change the situation. Another example would be while discussing things with your spouse. Sure they have a different view on things and at times they may say things that aren’t sensitive and maybe rude, however just sit and remain calm. Think about the times that you have mistreated them and you’ll see that you aren’t the victim in every situation.
Taming the tongue can be a difficult task, but the outcome of a situation is better when we do so. We should model our behavior so it’s worthy of being imitated by our children. Our goal is to raise them to function well in society, and if we want them to have a heart of forgiveness, the ability to overlook offenses, and have self control, it all starts with us. They may not always do what we tell them, but they definitely can do the things we do.