Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Family First Friday on Wednesday: Speak Life

I have missed Family First Friday for the last two weeks, so instead of waiting until Friday, I am updating on Wednesday!

Today's theme comes from Proverbs 18:21- "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

As the above verse states, our words have power. They either bring life, or they bring death. We have the power to choose. Wow. That is a huge responsibility, but it is also a tremendous blessing. God has given each of us the ability to bring life to any situation. While this applies to many areas of life, speaking life in our homes is an important factor to raising an awesome family!

What do I mean by speaking life?
When talking, choose words that build others up, rather than tear them down. With your spouse and children, I truly believe your words can change their lives. Positive, encouraging words create well adjusted, secure children. Negative, degrading words create insecure, unsure children.

We all say things we wish we didn't, often in a tone that is less than kind. So, when that happens, ask forgiveness from God then from your family. Do your best to avoid negative words and tones, but as humans, we will all fail....but as the Bible says, love covers a multitude of sins. Our children will still turn out well, even though we say/do things we shouldn't. However, our positive words should far outweigh our negative. If that does not reflect in your life, ask Jesus to help you. He will!

Coming back from that tangent.....
Speaking life! It is my prayerful desire that the atmosphere in my home is peaceful, joyful, and loving. By speaking encouraging words, I take steps to accomplish this.

What are some practical ways to speak life in your home?? These are a few examples of how we do it in the Williams home:
- My kids are not huge fans of strangers, so they take awhile to warm up to people. People often say in front of them, "Oh, they're so shy." I do not want my kids to think they're shy (because they aren't---they just take a little bit to warm up), so when people say that, I reply, "Actually they're not. They just take a few minutes to feel comfortable, and I really like that about them." So rather than being labeled as shy, my kids know I approve of their personality, which makes them feel secure.

- On a similar note, I am often told, "Wow, you have your hands full." My reply is, "They are actually great kids so I am really fortunate." I want my kids to think that a big family is a good thing. I also don't want them to think I can't handle them. When kids think they're too hard to handle, they are unsure of themselves. Plus when I reply positively, they hear, "Wow, mom thinks we're great, so we must be." Children value their parents' opinion above all others, so this is hugely important to their development.

- Throughout the day, I will often say things like, "My kids are so awesome," or "I am so lucky to have such amazing children," or "The Williams family is the best family," or "You're so beautiful/handsome."

- I also praise specific incidents, "Caleb, you spoke kindly to your sister," or, "Chloe, thank you for helping me unload the dishwasher."

- To my husband, I send him texts telling him why he's so great. Or post statuses on Facebook to tell the world how amazing he is. Publicly encouraging your husband (and kids) is incredibly life giving. Sometimes, when I know their within earshot, I will tell someone how great my kids are. I think this is probably even more encouraging to them than directly telling them.

- Every night before bed, I tell each of my kids, "I love you. I am so proud of you. I am so lucky to be your mom. You are so beautiful/handsome/cool." They will always know how much I love them, and they'll know that love does not depend on how they act but rather who they are.

- When leaving a social situation (grocery store, play date, etc), I will point out specific things they did well: "Caleb, you listened very well today. Chloe, you shared your toys with your friend. Thanks for doing that!" Thanking your husband and children brings life, as well.

I could go on, but I think you get the point!

(Disclaimer: I know some of these things sound like pride, but as long as you have the foundation of honoring the Lord and other above yourself, I think it is fine to be confident in who God has called you to be and who He has made your family to be).

In our culture, pop psychologist will say not to overpraise your kids. While I definitely think you should not lie or give praise when its not due (if my child throws a fit, I don't say, "You did great in the grocery store today"), I do not think you can ever overencourage. Brett tells me most everyday he thinks I am beautiful and that he loves. I NEVER get tired of hearing it, so I think it's impossible to be too kind.

If you have a particularly difficult child, still speak life to them! Speaking life is not dependent on how they act. While it is fine to notice their actions, it is far more important to praise them for who they are and who God has made them to be.

How do you speak life in your home??

2 comments:

  1. Great advice, Sarah! Tony's mom was really good at doing this and he is grateful for that to this day.

    I know that for me, I'll occasionally praise my kiddos before they do something, such as, "I'm so glad you're going to get out of your sister's chair just like I asked. I like how you listen right away." It doesn't work everytime, but it does help, especially with my toughest kiddo!

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  2. What an awesome post Sarah!!! I'm so glad I know you(C:

    Every word you said was right on and actually something I really needed to read right now. I don't think we can our kids/hubby's/friends enough how amazing they are.

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