As many of you know, I’m a big believer in ‘Speaking Life’ to those in my sphere of influence. I believe that the spoken word has power and that there is life and death in the tongue. Sound a little harsh and ‘out there’? Well, believe me I know, like all of you, know (personally) how words can hurt and equally, words can heal.
Whilst writing I find myself thinking about that age old saying, “sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me.” I’m not sure who came up with that but what a load of rubbish that saying is. Now I understand that sticks and stones can and do hurt. I know the situations people deal with and I am by NO means diminishing that when I speak about this saying. Rather, for the purpose of today’s article I want to focus on the ‘names will never hurt me part.’
I challenge you to take a moment and think about your week. Think about the things that have been said to you, around you and maybe even things you’ve heard that have been said behind your back. Maybe it’s even been one of your little ones expressing their emotion to you about you. If you have older ones this is probably more relevant. None the less, think about the words that you have heard this week and explore how they made you feel. If they were kind and encouraging words, you probably feel on top of the world and ready to take on challenges or you’re simply smiling because you feel good about yourself and that’s great! On the other hand, if they were words that hurt or perhaps discouraging then you are probably left feeling quite flat, out of steam and even seasoned with anger.
You see, words affect us in so many ways. Not only can we experience what I’ve mentioned above but the affect these words can have on us long term if: we hear them repeatedly by someone or we go over-and-over in our mind, reminding ourselves of what someone said eventually we could begin to believe them and at times they become self-fulfilling prophesy’s and we don’t even realise it’s happening.
Now I want you to think about your children. How often have they come home saying so-and-so called me this or, they said this about me. The list goes on. Simply put, your child has heard words spoken that have hurt rather than healed. Now, think about the times they have come home telling you about how the teacher pointed their artwork out or how well they listened during reading or craft. Or maybe a special friend told them they were their best friend. In these moments they run, they smile, they bounce and they are happy.
Words have power. Here’s a little story for you:
There is a 50 year old man named Steve who loves music yet Steve rarely plays anything he likes. He never sings loudly in the car when an old favourite comes on. Steve attends his church regularly and never sings, he just mouths the words. Steve has lived the last 40 years of his life not enjoying something he once loved. This sounds strange, I know. The reason Steve has lived this way is sad but true. When Steve was 10, he was in music class and was having the time of his life. He wasn’t a great singer but he was in the choir and he was enjoying himself, learning and growning with every note. One day, the teacher decided to tell Steve what she thought of his singing voice. His teacher didn’t choose words that would build and encourage Steve, rather she used words that put Steve and his love for music in a box with a lid. From that day on, Steve turned down his volume and he has never been able to enjoy music again. The words she spoke to a 10 year old boy have echoed in his mind for 40 years and sadly the music that played so loudly within this vibrant, eager 10 year old shut down that day. Steve was silenced by words.
Sad, but true and that is just one story of a life changed because of words that were spoken to them. Father’s I encourage you to speak highly of your children. Encourage them and breath life into them through your words – your sons and daughters need to hear you believing in them. Mother’s your words comfort, heal and bring peace into a home so I implore you to use your words wisely.
Speak Life to one another and into your homes and you will be amazed at the fruit.
Be blessed,
Susanna Bateman