Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones . . .

I was touched by Coconutannie's post today, which I discovered on David's post of the day. How often, as a mother, I consider the power of my words, for good or ill, on my children. That is not to say that I never say things to my children that I regret, sometimes instantly. I think that most of us struggle to curb our tongues, particularly in times of passion.
In April of this year, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave an amazing talk on the subject, which I have read and reread many times since. It helps me to remember the power of words and the responsibility that I have as a mother to use my words wisely and lovingly as I rear and nurture my children. This paragraph in particular emphasizes the influence of our words on our children:
  • "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.'"
It is my daily prayer that the Lord will help me hold my tongue and think before I speak; that I will not lash out in anger at my children, nor snap at my husband; that I will be careful of the words that I speak about others.
Thank you, CoconutAnnie, for reminding us of this important principle. It pertains to all, but is even more critical for those of us with the blessed calling and responsibility of parenthood.


Anonymous said...

A very good reminder , some times life is so stressful for us we forget about the clay we are shaping and what a impact we make on them... Thanks for keeping us on track

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the reminder Michal. I blew up tonight at my kids after I made dinner and all I heard was "what's this", "is this all what we have to eat," "I don't like beans." And, it was really yummy black bean & chicken quesadillas. I told them that if children in other places in the world didn't like beans they would be DEAD because sometimes ALL they have to eat is beans. I will have to find a way to cook, enjoy it and also deal with the children in a more tender way when they rudely tell me what a shoddy job they think of it.

Anonymous said...

I say "spare the rod and spoil the child" I wonder if anybody ever thought that the rod might be the iron rod? or the word of God? "Hold to the rod", "it will safely guide you". "Oh, that I were an angel". Anyway you're doing a great job. No one said it would be easy just... or maybe no one really ever said that.
Love, Papa

david mcmahon said...

I often say to new parents that there is no ``right age'' to start bringing up a child - an upbringing simply starts from Day One and continues every single day forward from there.

I was once asked if six was the right age to start ``bringing up'' a child and I just shook my head and said, ``No, upbringing is a responsibility from birth.'' How we treat our children and how we honour them is how they treat others and honour them in turn.