The writer of the book of Proverbs stated it clearly: Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21). Or, as the Message translation puts it: Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.
Parenting books all agree on how important it is for our children to hear words of encouragement: words that build up and don’t tear down. But how difficult it is to remember that, when any one of a hundred different family scenarios are playing out in ‘real life’. Whether it’s a sibling slanging match, a drama queen moment, or a sulky teenager blocking out the world (and your request for help) with music blaring through headphones …. it’s so much easier to blurt out something critical, sarcastic or belittling than something constructive and helpful.
So there are two parts to this week’s five-a-day challenge: firstly, to try and remember to count to five each time I come face to face with crummy behaviour from my kids, which will give me time to choose fruitful words, instead of poisonous ones. Secondly, I want to be more purposeful about building them up and modelling grace in my speech. I don’t want to push the five-a-day idea too far – but making sure that I say at least five positive things to each family member, every day – has to be a step in the right direction.
Here’s to a fruitful week.