It is fascinating to watch the progression of speech in a home with children. My grandparents thought is was funny to see my parents go through this, and my parents think its funny to see Tim and I go through it. The journey from “Say ‘dog’, Johnny, say ‘dog’. You can do it honey!” to “My child will not stop talking!” is relatively short in parenting years. I have learned a lot over the years about the importance of words, the value of silence, and selfishness in conversation. I could have used this information as a child – it might have saved me some relationships or at least some nasty comments on my report card. Here are some phrases we use to train our children on how to value how and why we use words wisely:
- “Please respond to your brother” – shows speaker as valued
- “Mommy’s ears a a little tired right now” – takes ownership for choosing to stop conversation and shows that stopping conversation can be healthy and helpful
- “I am choosing not to or am not able to connect with you right now” – takes ownership and shows value in conversation as a connection between people not just words
- “You are interrupting. Please wait until it is your turn to speak” – shows value of the words of others
- “There is nothing good or helpful coming out of your mouth right now” – show values in building up and encouraging others
- “You may sing that song or tell that story to me at another time” – shows value for time and place of words
- “Please sing or say those words to yourself” – show value of silence
It may seem rather odd to talk about being self-controlled in our speech on a blog site; the blog world could use some self-control. Training our children to value the words they speak and the words spoken by others appears culturally unimportant in the age of twitter, texting and blogging. This is, then, all the more reason to be diligent in following what God says about our mouths, our words and our purpose of speaking.
Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you oh Lord my rock and my Redeemer – Psalm 19:14
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry – James 1:19
Don’t let any foolish talk come out of your mouth, only what is helpful for building other up according to their needs so that it may benefit those who listen – Ephesian 4:29
The last one is the verse we taught our children when they were old enough to form sentences. It has helped us all – reminded us that ears deserve a rest. Hopefully it will save us from nasty comments on report cards also.
Parenting Tip: When Tim or I are speaking with someone, instead of interrupting with words, our children will place their hand on our leg to get our attention when they need to speak to us; it shows them their comments are valued while teaching them how to wait their turn.
Resource: Books we like that help train ourselves and our families with truths from scripture: Wise Words for Moms and Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman