Our children learn more from us than we ever realize.
One thing I realized very early on was what a huge impact my manner of speaking made on my children. Yes, we want to teach them to obey, but it is important that we don’t just bark out orders to our children. In my Tips for Moms series, this week’s Tip #6 is living out gracious speech to our children.
Many many years ago, when my oldest was 15 months old, I found out just what kind of an impact the way I spoke to my children made. I was in one of the Marts doing some shopping when she began to climb in the seat of the shopping cart. Automatically I said, “Please sit down Hannah.” She very quietly sat back down and I (again automatically) said, “Good job! Thank you for obeying Momma.” Imagine my shock when an older lady came bounding toward me, telling me she had been watching me with my child.
Now, I don’t know about you, but as a pretty new mom (who was pregnant with baby #2) I was quite intimidated thinking anyone was watching me!
- What had I done?
- What had I said?
- Was she going to yell at me?
- Was I a rotten testimony of Jesus?
All of these thoughts flew through my mind. Her words? “I just want to say what a joy it was to see you speak to your daughter with kindness and politeness!” WOW! I was not expecting that. But I’ll tell you what, it made my day!!
I wish I could say that I always spoke so gently with my children over the years, but I’m afraid I blew it more than I’d ever care to remember. But my DESIRE was always to speak to my children with kindness and politeness. Saying please and thank you does not diminish our authority or make our commands optional. But it DOES teach our children how to speak to others – including us.
She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Prov 31:6
Over the years I’ve had mothers tell me about the rotten ways their children speak to them. Well, very often, it is because the children learned it from Mom (or Dad). When we speak rudely or when we lack manners in our words, we teach that very rudeness to our children. It may not come out for years, but it will eventually come out.
I realize that some things are beyond our control, and that might be how other relatives (even Dad) speak. But we can still be beacons of godly speech to our children. Our example goes very far in speaking into the hearts of our children, and we must learn to trust in the Lord in this.
Today is a day to examine our speech to our children. Do we regularly and naturally say please and thank you? Or do we sound harsh, like a sergeant major?
All Scripture quotations are taken from the NASB.
Unless otherwise indicated, photos from pixaby.com