SOS: Words matter?
Boy, do they ever.
I wonder if nothing is as powerful as the words we think and speak.
Consider: God spake, and the world was.
As parents, we have such power to strengthen, inspire, and encourage our children, not only with the actual words we say, but also the tone and volume and manner in which we say the words we speak.
Sometimes we make mistakes as parents, and we don’t say the nicest things. I have noticed that as a child, it didn’t matter if my parent messed up as much as if they apologized for messing up. Children are smart. They, more often than not, feel when a person is being sincere, proud, kind, rude, polite, deceptive, and so forth. When we try to cover up our mistakes or refuse to acknowledge them, they respond in kind. When we apologize, they love us. They are so quick to forgive!
As an adult, I find that I still have very tender feelings. And I’m grateful to know that God wants us to have tender feelings (see Jacob 2:7). I was reminded, when we read this chapter in Jacob as a family this morning, how parents can lose the confidence and break the hearts of their children. We can “pierce…hearts with deep wounds” if we don’t watch what we say (and do).
I remember on occasion when my children have noticed that I was struggling to be patient, that they have prayed for me to be able to get more sleep or to feel better or to be nicer. I’ve needed those prayers. It can be hard to be nice sometimes! It’s humbling to be a parent!
I also remember a time when Peter was younger and I was speaking kindly to him. He said something to me like, “Mom, when you talk like that, you sound like an angel.”
Oh, did that not pierce my heart and make me want to always speak that way! They do notice, and they want us to speak kindly!
It’s a challenge. I’m grateful to have the chance, because of the Savior, both to repent AND to forgive, which helps me out whenever either I do something hurtful or someone does something hurtful to me. Thank goodness. I don’t know what I’d do otherwise!
And I’m grateful for “the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul” which has helps me heal when someone speaks unkindly to me.
Happy Watching Our Words,
P.S. I still love it today when my mom or my sister or my husband calls me and says something nice to me over the phone, encouraging me or complimenting me. I still need it, even as an adult. I hope I can always speak kindly to others, especially my children, no matter how old we get!
P.S. Here’s one of my favorite talk about the nurturing and destructive power of words:
“We must be so careful in speaking to a child. What we say or don’t say, how we say it and when is so very, very important in shaping a child’s view of himself or herself. But it is even more important in shaping that child’s faith in us and their faith in God. Be constructive in your comments to a child—always. Never tell them, even in whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely. You would never do that maliciously, but they remember and may struggle for years trying to forget—and to forgive. And try not to compare your children, even if you think you are skillful at it. You may say most positively that “Susan is pretty and Sandra is bright,” but all Susan will remember is that she isn’t bright and Sandra that she isn’t pretty. Praise each child individually for what that child is, and help him or her escape our culture’s obsession with comparing, competing, and never feeling we are ‘enough.’” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Tongue of Angels.”)