My son and I were in his room this past Saturday morning before breakfast. He was quietly playing with his cars as I rocked in his rocking chair reading a book. I had just placed a tea bag in my hot water to steep a few minutes earlier. I quietly got up and said to K, "I'll be right back, I am going to go get my tea" and as I walked out of the room I heard a soft, "I'll be here". I turn to see my two year old with a big grin on his face. I then went to the kitchen chuckling the whole way.
That's something my husband and I have been known to say. And I personally got that phrase from hearing it throughout my childhood by my mother.
Or the time when I was finishing up vacuuming the living room when a small voice so matter-of-factly stated, "Good job Mommy!"
Or the countless times I ask him to say thank you for something and he chimes in with, "Thank you! Welcome!" Taking care of the manners for everyone all in one.
These are all things that either my husband or I have said to him or around him, all of which we did not begin to expect that we'd hear them coming from his mouth.
When you don't think your child is listening, or when you say things and they don't acknowledge it, it doesn't mean they aren't absorbing everything said around them: Filing it away for another moment.
Kids are sponges -- and Parrots.
So I am pleading with you as a fellow parent, we need to watch what we say because our kids are an honest reflection of us, our character and our parenting.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Everything that has been spoken by my son has been something I or my husband has said at some point during his life -- he has an impeccable memory.
I thank God everyday for giving me the wisdom and grace in my speech with my son. Always trying to encourage and treat him with the respect any person deserves and I praise God that it is shining through K's action and speech. As I heard Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar once say, “I had heard that early on in my mothering journey with K, and really truly believe that it is the best way to raise our kids because what they hear the most often is what they will believe.
I know I am not perfect and I mess up with my words every now and again but so far he hasn't soaked those up. (Or at least repeated them) And I am ever seeking help from God as I go day to day.
We must always remember impressionable eyes and ears are there taking it all in and at some point it may come out.
And if we are not glorifying God with our mouths around our kids then that makes them think that it is okay -- because we are their guide. We are the ones old enough to know better.
So yes I am that parent that will politely ask you not to teach my son swear words because you think its cute or funny for a two year old to speak them, and I will ask you politely not to swear or say mean things around my son.
And if a child who is not my own says mean and negative things, like calling my son stupid (yes that happened by our neighbor boy only 5 or so -- I most definitely told him he was not something you say to others let alone my son who is only two and not stupid just young) you bet I say a little prayer for that family and that child who doesn't know any better.
As parents it is our job to protect our kids -- not to take away the innocence they have by tearing them down with our words. Trust me, as you are probably well aware, this world will do its best to bring our kids down enough for their whole lives, so we don't need to add on. We need to be the ones encouraging, loving, and supporting with our words. (Does that mean supporting them in anything they want to do, not if it is harmful to them in anyway but thats a whole different blog topic)
If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Matthew 18: 6
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
If we are positive and encouraging with our kids, our kids will be positive and encouraging.
But if we have an off day, which we all do, and we ask for forgiveness, our kids will be taking that in as well.
Your Turn: In what ways do you encourage your kids throughout the day?