“I’ve never met kids who knew all the words,” my brother-in-law said after a 3-day visit. What does our children’s language say about us? We have a few key rules in our household that I see as non-negotiables. The first is that anything we do is out of Love and not selfish desires. The second is that emotions are real and they point to a situation that should be addressed and not ignored. Lastly, one of the most powerful tools in our toolbox is the power of language and if your words violate rule number 1 and 2, then the words should not come out of your mouth.
I know this is not the most popular way to raise children, but Jess and I have been through the ringers in our life and these are we believe these fundamental principles align with our faith and our desired outcome for our children. We joke that we might use their college fund for therapy bills down the road, but the compliments we receive daily about our children say otherwise.
I am not bragging about their language
Before you get all frustrated and say we are raising our kids to let all the words spew out of their mouth, I want to ask you what the difference is, in your opinion of course, between an explicative and a word of hate. For example, in our American culture, there is a certain word that people of my color are really not supposed to say, but as an adult, in general, if I drop the F* bomb in a deemed appropriate setting then no one bats an eye. Why?
The answer is honestly quite simple. Words have power and that power is based on two things. First the person that says them. If we don’t use words with their appropriate meaning then we are in a sense abusing our language. You wouldn’t say the grass is pink and the sky is neon green, so why use words for anything other than their true meaning. Secondly, power comes from other people’s personal experience with the word. The word I mentioned earlier that I will never say is not because of my experience with the meaning of the word, but those I know and love. Fat, ugly, four-eyes, dirty, smelly, slow, are just a few words that hold more power over some than others.
Should we even talk at all?
This is the tricky part about language. At some point we must choose to use certain words or phrases simply to communicate with our fellow human being. If we are too overly concerned about everyone’s emotions then as a species we would simply stop talking. As parents, we revert back to rule number one and two when choosing to talk.
If the words we choose to speak are out of love and appropriate to express our emotion at hand, then the language is acceptable. Be honest and speak out of love and your language will uplift not only those around you, but other’s opinion of your character.
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