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Raising Kids God's Way: The Mouth

By: Beth Lyda (From: Volume 2 - Issue 1)

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

God has given parents an awesome task to fulfill in raising children. Thankfully, our Father is there to help us every step of the way. He has also placed other godly adults in our lives to help mold our children’s character. So, even if you are not a parent, you can still make a great impact in the lives of children that you know!

Children are special gifts to us from the Lord. Psalm 127:3 tells us “Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward.” It is hard to keep that in mind sometimes, though! When your child (who was being so sweet just a moment ago) is now lying in the floor throwing a fit because you wouldn’t let her destroy your latest copy of Better Homes and Gardens, a little encouragement is needed. My hope is that this new column will provide just that for you.

Have you ever noticed that children seem to have super-sonic hearing, and they hear practically everything, especially things that you would rather they did not hear? They also have a special knack for repeating what they heard under just the right… or maybe I should say just the wrong circumstances! On the one hand, this can be encouraging because we realize that at least our kids are listening to us. On the other hand, however, we are embarrassed by hearing our words recited by our child in front of others. I remember a similar example from my childhood involving my sister. I had a crush on one of the boys at my church. Unfortunately, my little sister knew this. One Sunday night we walked into church, and she said (much too loudly for my taste), “Beth, there’s that boy you like!” Oh, the humiliation. I probably could have crawled under the pew!

Our speech can be used for good or bad, to encourage or to destroy. More often than not, people use their words in negative ways. The Bible says in James 3:8-12 “But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet [water] and bitter? 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so [can] no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.”

The tongue is very unruly and often cruel. I remember a particular incident from the fourth grade that really made an impression on me. I was sitting near my teacher in the cafeteria and overheard her discussing one of my friends with another adult. She told the other woman that my friend was “stupid.” I was shocked to hear my teacher say something so mean about her. Hopefully, my friend never found out about our teacher’s comment!

Yes, our tongues can do great damage, but if we allow God to subdue and guide our speech, it can do great good. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech [be] alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” The words that we speak should be gentle and loving, not harsh and unkind. Can you think of a time recently when someone took the time to tell you that you did a good job or that they appreciate the work that you do? What a blessing and morale booster just a few kind words can be! We should seek to encourage and build up others, especially our children. If your child is struggling with learning a new skill, try not to focus on what he or she is doing wrong. Use your speech to praise them for what they are doing right and gently show them how to improve. Our daughter still doesn’t quite have the hang of using a fork and spoon. She would probably come to dread eating, if every time she ate yogurt with her fingers, I told her that she was dumb for not eating like a grown-
up. Disobedience can be challenging to our patience and make us want to scream at our kids, but the next time your child disobeys, seek God’s help to correct them in a way that doesn’t tear them down, but rather builds them up.

Let your kids know that you love them; that you’re proud of them. I’m not a child psychologist, but I think we’ll see our kids flourish when we show them the love of Christ through our words. In the meantime, I’ll be cleaning yogurt from my baby’s hands and eagerly awaiting the day she embraces utensils!

“Pleasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)

From: Volume 2 - Issue 1


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