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.'"
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.