Sunday, February 14, 2016
Did I Just Say That?
There is more than a 52 week devotional's worth of content about the power of our words, period. That said, I would dare say that there's more than a set of 1985 Britannica encyclopedias' worth of content about the power of our words in parenting.
As in anything you've never done before, it's hard to imagine the gravity of your words in raising children until you're doing it. We spend the first year speaking baby talk, a good 3-5 years saying only the word "no" for 12 hours a day, and then the next 12 years or so constantly thinking, "I probably shouldn't have said that."
I'll cut the chase and go straight to the point.
Words are powerful.
One moment, words from your preschooler can make you feel like a supermodel.
"You're so beautiful in that dress, Momma."
But then, your hormonal preteen daughter can look at you and say, "Are you really wearing that to pick up my friends?" And you're back to doubting your fashion sense because someone with a foot in current pop culture questions your style. Never mind she was wearing a blue tennis skirt over neon orange leggings with her purple "My Mom Thinks I'm Fabulous" t-shirt just 365 days ago. Words are powerful.
A study a few years ago showed the power of words on water molecules. A group of scientists took two samples of the same, pure water and over one sample, they spoke words of appreciation and life. Over the second sample, they spoke words of worthlessness and negativity. Over the course of time, when the study was finished, the sample that had words of life consistently spoken over it had formed crystalline formations in its molecules, creating a beautiful snowflake pattern in the dish. The other group? You guessed it. It literally turned swamp like to the eye and was filled with yuck.
Y'all, if this works on water molecules, our children's hearts are even more so pliable and porous.
I've been a mom for 12 years at the time of writing this book. I've heard and said some of the most far fetched things I never imagined I would along the way. I've spoken words of life over my children and I have also spoken words I had to fall on my knees and pray God would redeem in their little hearts and minds. I thought that today, in honor of words, I would share with you some of the most hard-to-believe things I've ever said to my kids.
I never believed I would say...
Why are your overalls in the toilet?
Did you really poop on that towel?
WHY did you poop on a towel?
No, there isn't a doggie Jesus.
Yes, Momma wipes her own bottom.
No, I don't want you to do it next time.
You can't poke babies in the eye because you think their eyes are cute.
Yes, that baby's eye is real.
You are not wearing your underwear on the outside of your clothes.
Someone get him. He's sitting in the fireplace.
Who put the dog in the garage and left her there?
WHY are you sitting there with the dog's foot in your MOUTH?
WHY DID YOU BITE THE DOG?
What do you mean the bug you ate had pinchers on it?
How much of the dog food did you eat?
Yes, Jesus has a pee-pee.
You can't carry a knife to school in your lunch box.
Do NOT put the iPad in the bathtub with you!
The poop that is laying on the living room floor looks just like a piece of asparagus.
Have you actually been wiping your boogers on the car door?
I can't close the door with you in the refrigerator.
Do NOT take your clothes off in class at church.
Yes, Jesus came out of Mary's you-know-what.
Yes, you can pee in the ocean.
Yes, you can pee behind that bush (outside of Chili's).
Yes, you can pee behind that tree past the slide.
DID YOU JUST PEE IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THOSE GROWN-UPS TALKING?
Have you showered in the last three days?
Do you actually wash your hair while you're in the shower?
If you DIDN'T wash your hair or your body, what were you doing for THIRTY MINUTES in there?
But more than anything else, I wasn't prepared for how many times I would say:
I love you.
I am so proud of you.
I believe in you.
Will you forgive me?
I forgive you.
You're my favorite.
God loves you.
You can do anything.
I will help you.
Take your time.
Try it again.
You're so funny.
And my favorite, you are mine.
You're going to speak many, many words in the lifetime of your parenting. Some of them will be full of life and power and will navigate your children through the rising and falling tides of childhood and adolescence. Sometimes, you'll think, "Did I really just have to ask who put a sock in the garbage disposal?" And you'll laugh until you cry. But sometimes, you'll cry because you know your words wounded the soul of your little one and you'll lie awake at night trying to figure out where the blueprints are for the time machine that will make it right. Spoiler alert: You won't find it.
But what you will find is that tomorrow, the sun will rise. And with it, brand new, never-been-seen-before mercies for the words you need to speak to make it right.
You blew it yesterday. But I guarantee you that what you spoke rightly far outweighs the bad.
Shuffle to your coffee pot and sleepily pour your cup. And while you stand there, determine to choose words that will make your heart happy when you lay your head down tonight. I promise you, your kids will give you ten reasons to blow it before lunch time.
But they don't get to choose your words for you.