It becomes obvious how powerful words can be when you live with a toddler. Every stray word is immediately ingested and spit out with amazing context and inflection.
Lately, the girls have gotten a bit casual in their use of language. We have always had words that were not allowed to be used. They were never able to call each other “dumb” or “stupid”. We also didn’t permit the word “yabut”…otherwise known as “Yah, but….”. It always meant that someone was making an excuse and not speaking the truth. There were other words that were off limit as well.
Carl and I began to notice that the girls had gotten into the habit of only being able to express their dislike for something by saying, “I hate….” or
“I hate it when….” They would say it about innocent occurrences but with a lot of expression. Caleb begin to pick up the “hate” word.
Last week, I challenged to girls to remove the word hate from their vocabulary and to be more positive. It was fine to have strong feeling regarding life but they were old enough to have a more well rounded vocabulary. The girls initially felt that they didn’t use the “hate” word that often and this exercise was silly. But they consented to use other expressions.
We spent the evening in close proximity and it was amazing how many times each girl had to change their phasing to say, ” I don’t care for that song” or ” I’m not that crazy about that type of food.” They really loved it when I had to catch myself and say “I’m not that fond of that color.” By the end of the night, the lesson had been learned and the girls were more aware of little words that can pack a big negative punch if left unchecked.
As I looked up the scripture reference that I wanted to include in this post, I saw a note in the margin that was dated August 26, 1999 and I wrote…Today I claim this verse over my family and I pray that they will hear sweet words from me.
I pray that you will claim this verse and check the language that you and your loved ones are speaking to one another and to the world.
“A wise man’s heart guides his mouth,
and his lips promote instruction.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Proverb 16: 23, 24 ( NIV )