Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. Whoever wrote that is a fool. Words hurt, scar, wound.
Who here is innocent when it comes to words? I know I am not. It is something I strive for and work to do well every day (and fail at times). It is something I work to instill in my children every day. I cannot agree more with this devotion, which in a nutshell says to protect those around us with kind word from wounding words. Become waterproof.
How do we waterproof the people in our circles with words? Here are my children’s responses: use kind words, tell your friends nice things, tell someone you like them, and tell someone why you like them.
Does it seem easy or basic to you all out there? I challenge you it isn’t. Here is an instance already, day one, how we need to model our children.
When is the last time you told a friend or a complete stranger something nice without prompting?
This is something very doable in real life. Do it in front of your children to show them too!
I love walking up to people and telling them how their shirt color compliments them, their smile is friendly, their laugh is infectious, or they are so sweet with their child. If it is your friend, tells them an attribute you love about them. If they are your friend you like something about them; do not take for granted they already know. Maybe they need a kind word to make them waterproof to all the yuck out there. Maybe that new neighbor or stressed out co-worker needs an emotional lift from a kind word. Hurting, vulnerable people are all around us- every day.
If an animal is wounded what does it do- the same as a human. You have heard of flight or fight, right? Dogs may bite at someone wanting to help them or cower in a corner not wanting to be touched. Humans may lash out with wounding words or isolate themselves from vulnerability. Same thing.
What both need is love. Yet we make emotional pleas for the animals and judge the humans.
None of this is hard but is amazingly fun and addictive. No one shares kind words anymore. One single action with kind words will brighten someone’s day and it will put a spring in your step for doing it.
My kids have seen me do things like this all their life. So it only made sense for them to respond the way they did to this devotion. More so, I know they live it out in their own life too.
My kids are social creatures and defenders of the heart. Their love of people is evident and their willingness to love stirs compassion. They are compassionate because they know what it is like when they hurt from wounding words.
How many of us have cuddled a child when we, or someone, have said something hurtful to their tender hearts? Kids get it.
I love to watch and learn from other parents. Here is a parenting trick I picked up from a past friend. It is this- we tackle the issue head on and problem-solve a wounding moment. Yeah, you thought I was going to share some genius moment, right? Nope, just plain ol’ common sense.
This idea plays out in their lives everyday. My children draw others to them because of their love for playing outdoors. With groups of children, comes drama. This does not worry me in the slightest though because my kids have proven worthy of the task to overcome the situation and fix it. Not to say there are no tears or outbursts. This is not “Pleasantville” and full of robotic children. However, they do talk it out. I watch and listen as they hear the complaints of those upset, tell them they understand why they are upset, and say kind words about all of those involved and tell everyone that being kind and getting along is important to the group. Wow. AND it works.
Now as an adult we think, NO WAY! Some of us “grown up” run and hide to lick wounds, some cry openly, some eat ice cream, some exercise, some lash out, some… well you get the picture. How much better could it be, would it be, if we just learned to use our voice and relay our feelings that those words hurt and work to restore and forgive one another?
What if we stopped wasting our time, our relationships, with a pity party, in anger, or lost in gossip?
What if we were more like kids…
Kids are resilient and perceptive, not the fragile, useless little people we tend to think they are sometimes. Kids get mad, say things, and then are friends again 5 minutes later. It isn’t until we “grow up” that we pout or lash out when our feelings get hurt.
Seems a little backwards, eh?
Just as much as it takes a leader in the kids group to stop the wounding words, we should take a page. Be the defender in your circle and create a waterproofing over your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Leaders encourage and pull others up with them, right?
I know there is always improvement in this area for me.
How are you using your words for good? What amazing ways are your children lifting up other around them with their kind words?
Up next – “Little Ducklings- Joy in Serving”
Being Christ with our words,