How much importance do we place on the things we say? How much thought goes into the words we use? It is estimated we say 16,000 words a day. Out of those how many do we truly think about before we say them?
Most words seemingly make little to no difference on our future. Except for those words we use in front of our kids. Children are like mini sponges listening, soaking it all in and repeating everything they hear!
How many times have you walked in on your child playing or interacting with other children to hear them repeating a word or phrase you use? I know my kids love to repeat the things I might have said in a moment of anger or when Eva Rose tells her daddy to “clean up you mess” or “daddy you not do that right.” He laughs because he knows exactly where those little words came from.
Of all the phrases we say as parents, there are a few that I believe every child needs to hear. I read this list compiled by Bret Rhinhart and thought this was an amazing simple truth we as parents take for granted thinking our kids will just know!
1.God loves you. The most basic and important truth we can instill in our children is the fact that God loves them. It’s simple enough that even a young child can grasp it. They will carry it throughout their lives. The Bible says to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, ESV). If you tell your children regularly that God loves them, there’s a pretty solid chance they’ll never forget it. If you never tell your children that God loves them, you are depriving them of the head start they deserve and leaving an open door for the Enemy to come in and tell them otherwise.
2. I love you. This phrase probably goes without saying. Sure, we all love our children. Showing we love them every day is important. And, yes, there’s a lot of truth to the saying “Actions speak louder than words.” I’m a big believer in Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages,” so I think it’s incredibly important to give love the way your children have been designed to receive it. For some, it means more hugs or nice words. For others, it means more quality time spent together. But, there’s no substitute for telling your children you love them. Don’t let the sun go down on a single day without them hearing those words.
3. I am here for you. Children need to know that their parents are always there. We need to communicate with them and let them know that there’s no situation too big or scary for Mom or Dad. Just as we can take anything to God, our children need to trust that they can bring anything to us. God didn’t design us to be “besties” with our kids in lieu of being a parent. But, He did design us with shoulders to cry on, arms to hug with, and mouths to speak comfort to our children at the times they need it most. Our children need to understand we are always there for them, and in addition to proving it by our actions, we can tell them with our words.
4. I was wrong. Our children need to see that we are human. Saying you were wrong and you are sorry communicates that you aren’t perfect. Our kids need to know that we make mistakes, and that making mistakes is okay. Admitting you were wrong shows them the proper response to making a mistake – fessing up to it. Beyond all of that, it lays the subtle groundwork to remind them that our imperfection is the reason we are in need of a perfect Savior.
5. You were wrong. One of the most important responsibilities we have as parents is teaching our children right from wrong. Too many children are raised without a true sense of what is right and what is wrong, and from my view, it’s largely because parents aren’t telling them. I’ve seen too many parents make excuses for their children, defend them at all costs and shield them from any negativity. When their children mess up, many parents want to find someone else responsible and shift the blame instead of facing the situation head-on. The result of a child who has never been told they are wrong is a know-it-all adult with a glass chin. We are all wrong from time-to-time. If we practice #4 and tell our children when we are wrong, it should be easier for them to do the same. It’s important for them to understand that being wrong is not the problem, as much as how they respond to it.
Our words are important, especially considering the impact they can have on our little ones. As parents, one of the best things we can do is remember this: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29, ESV).
Hope your day is blessed~Jennifer