As a new mom, many years ago, I was in the grocery store with my eldest daughter, who was then around 11 months old. She was kind of squirrely that day and was trying to get out of her safety belt in the shopping cart. I said to her, “Hannah, no, you need to stay sitting down. You need to obey. Say, ‘OK Momma.'” To which she raised her little arms and said, “Tay, Momma” and sat back down.
I responded, “Thank you, Hannah, for obeying Momma! You did a good job!”
This older woman (of course I was much younger then – today I wouldn’t consider her older! :D) actually came over from a few aisles away to speak to me. She told me what a joy it was to hear me speak to my daughter. She said how often she hears parents yell at their children and berate them for simply being children. She said she had never heard a parent thank their child for obeying and it was so refreshing!
We seldom think about how we talk to our children. We generally say the first thing that comes into our heads. I’ve not always had such gracious speech with my children, I’m ashamed to admit. There have been many times when I’ve spoken in the flesh – and the fleshly response of irritation or anger.
Learning to speak with grace and love to our children really MUST be learned! We need to practice it. I am the Queen of making a list of the things I SHOULD say!! When I find myself saying things that just should not be said, the Holy Spirit gets a hold of my heart. Then I realize I need to PRACTICE saying the right thing. I’ll say to my child, “I’m sorry. That was a bad thing to say. Will you forgive me? But let me say that the RIGHT way.” And I’ll recite (actually recite) what I memorized as the CORRECT response. (I’ve done this for years with my husband as well)
Every time I take a Do Over, I train my speech patterns. I never wanted to be a mom who spent all her time apologizing and repeating the same thing over and over. I wanted to be a mom who CHANGED and GREW, who learned how to speak the words and heart of Jesus to my children.
Let’s examine our speech to our children today. Is your speech to your children gracious or harsh? Do you walk in the flesh or the Spirit as you speak to your children? How can YOU learn to be more gracious in your speech to your children today?
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