Poison or fruit?

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.

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The significance of five a day

My bookshelves are groaning under the weight of all the ‘be a better parent’ bestsellers, and my kindle is similarly bursting at its electronic seams. I’ve watched the DVDs, bought the t-shirts and attended the seminars … So why is it that at the end of most days I feel frustrated and overwhelmed with the things that I’ve got wrong, or with the ways that my kids have acted up?

I’m ready for a new perspective, a new lens to view my parenting journey with and a new way of applying what I’ve read over the years in all of those great parenting books. I’m calling it the fiveaday challenge because I want to focus on small, but significant, steps that I can take to grow and nurture my kids. It may include making sure they get their portions of fruit and vegetables each day, but it will also be a challenge to be purposeful about other important inputs in their lives.

The blog is to help keep me on track and accountable. It is more subtle than a giant post-it note on each wall of the house. Let the challenge begin …