"So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire." James 3:5
I love my children ... I mean there are no words to express the love that I have for my children, they are precious to me. As parents, I think that we sometimes tend to over analyze our children - probably because we love them so much and want the absolute best for them and want to ensure that they are going forward in the right direction.
Being the sarcastic person that I am, I have been known to lovingly tease my girls. I don't ever talk badly about them or tear them down, that is a point I want to make clear, but sometimes Senior Airman and I will talk about them to each other or to other people in ways that don't exactly flatter them. For example, we have teased that our oldest will be the least likely to get into trouble in high school. She will be the smart, over achieving, people pleaser. Our youngest will be the wild one, the one that we will have to worry about rebelling. Lastly, that our middle child will be most likely to be the clueless blonde cheerleader type, beautiful but a little spacey. Ok, when I actually write it out, it seems worse then it did in my head ... hence the lesson that follows ...
For reasons that I won't get into, there is a reason we tagged our middle daughter that way. We love her dearly, but she does fit the genre of that stereotype. We have harmlessly teased about that since she was very little. It has always been in love, but I recently realized it was wrong of me. During my quiet time a few weeks ago God really laid this child on my heart. He deeply convicted me of this teasing. He showed me that she is a precious child of God and that He created her to be exactly what she is. He showed me that as her mother, I should always build her up and praise her for the wonderful qualities that she holds, rather then tease her (especially to other people) about something that she may never even become. I immediatley repented and promised to think twice about putting lables on any of my children in any sort of fashion.
That same night I went to my Led By The Spirit class and had a prophetic word spoken over me from someone who didn't know me or my children. God spoke to me again through this stranger and I was shocked at the message. He said that this child specifically, was extremley smart and that He wanted me to believe in that firmly. He said that we will have to fight for her academically as she might learn differently then other children, but not to forget that she is a very smart girl and so on and so forth. Wow ... I mean it was like God prepped me for that message by first showing me my sin in teasing and then by reinforcing qualitites she held that I suspected she might lack. He believed in her and I needed to see her in the same way. I just sat there and cried. I was so ashamed at myself.
Sometimes the most innocent words can hurt the most. My daughter is young enough that she will never remember us teasing her and labeling her in the way we did, but what if we had kept it up? What if she overheard us talking about her like that to other people? Would she feel encouraged by our words or embarassed? I find myself being much more sensitive to the words I use to descibe my children or even the way that I talk to them ... As a naturally sarcastic person it is a challenge for me. As Senior Airman likes to remind me, even though I am just kidding around other people might not see things the same way and get hurt or offended by my words. I challenge you to watch the words that you are speaking over your children. Be purposeful to uplift them, encourage them and empower them - even when you think they can't hear what you are saying. Our children thrive and cling to our every word so make sure you are using your words wisely.
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7 years ago