Your Children Are Listening. What Do They Hear?

I caught myself being a “Negative Nancy” today. I was focusing on what I viewed as a problem {not my own problem…someone else’s, of course} and speaking about it with one of the only two people in the entire world that I would ever dare breathe my opinions {about someone} out loud. I knew, I mean I KNEW, in the very pit of my heart that even though I was just rehashing a few “true” observations, that I wasn’t speaking life, being encouraging or choosing love. And while it may have been pretty tame to most people if they had overheard my thoughts, it wasn’t the “me” that I am proud to be. I called that person back later and apologized for my words. “True” or not, words bring life or they bring death. Zero gray.

 Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. Proverbs 18:21 The Message

Which got me thinking about how much my heart craves kindness. And friends, our words MATTER. They matter a lot. A LOT! I hope that if you bumped into me at the grocery store that I would smile and chat a bit. Even though bad drivers make me cra-ZAY, my prayer is that instead of huffing under my breath in a tizzy when you cut me off, that I would smile and whisper a genuine prayer for you– because maybe you are having a bad day. I’m serious here. The bottom line is that someone is always watching and listening. Your spouse. Your friends. Your parents. Your brothers and sisters. Your co-workers. They notice your words.

And these munchkins?

Peyton Parker Piggy Back Ride

They are ALWAYS listening.

Knowing that my children are always listening, and considering my words once again from earlier today, led me to noodling on what they hear from my lips.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized with a very very thankful heart that I don’t think that either of my children could give you an opinion of mine or Jeremy’s about a person. Because honestly, we just don’t talk about our opinions of people in this home {unless of course it’s praising them or sharing something neat and positive about someone that we love}. My breath caught a bit as it sunk in that one of the things that Jeremy and I have done well within our home is to choose not to spend our words speaking in a way that could ever be misconstrued as unkind toward our neighbor, our friends, our family.

Please hear me well. We aren’t perfect parents– far from it! I sigh a little too often. My patience runs too thin more often than I’d like. But gossiping is not welcome inside these walls. Not even between Jeremy and I. If it creeps in, it typically dies a quick death at our acknowledgement of the problem. You see, by guarding our words, we guard THEIR hearts. They are free to love. Free to learn. Free to explore their world without our 30-shades-of-cynicism distorting the view.

This is my public notice: If you hear unkind words from my mouth, please call me on it. {Gently. Kindly. Honestly…remind me that my words breathe life or fuel hurt} And please remember in your own home that your children {spouse, friend, co-worker, etc.} is listening. It’s up to you to determine what they will hear.


Are words something that you struggle with? What or who encourages you to speak with grace and kindness?  


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