It is estimated that on average a person speaks about 7,000 words a day. 7,000 words! (Of course, we all probably know someone who uses more than that in a day.) We use so many words that we can often forget how much weight our words hold. Words are powerful. They can be used to build up or they can be used as a weapon to tear down.
In fact, the Bible is not short on verses regarding the words we speak as followers of Jesus. Here is one example: “Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word is a gift.” Ephesians 4:29 (MSG)
Did you read that last part? Each word is a gift. Would you say your words are a gift to your spouse? To your children? To your friends, family, and neighbors?
As parents, the words you say to and about your child matter - a lot, actually. Reggie Joiner, in Parenting through the Phases, says “Every time you speak to your child, you’re reinforcing or expanding their vocabulary. You’re giving them words that will shape how they see the world, how they see themselves, and how they think about God.” Have you ever thought about that? The words you speak to your children are impacting the direction of their lives.
Direction is defined as a course along which someone or something moves. The words you speak to your child, over time, directly shape the direction they are moving in. As a trusted adult in your child’s life, your words have power.
Think about your own life: As a child or teen, did you ever have someone say something to you or about you that changed the way you saw yourself? It could have been positive or negative, but whatever it was it probably changed your direction.
Words have the power to shape children’s ability to reason and to imagine. Over time, the more words children know, hear, and understand, allow them to imagine bigger ideas and dream bigger dreams for their future. Don’t you want your children to dream big dreams and do great things? Of course you do. So think about the words you speak to and about your child daily.
We can’t tell you the exact words to speak to your child because all children are different and have different needs. But consider for a moment these few questions:
- Recently, what words have you spoken to or about your child? List them out and consider how those words are directly impacting your child’s future.
- Now, knowing that over time, your words are giving your child a sense of direction, what words do you want to consistently speak to your child? Write them out. Then find ways to frequently speak those words to and about your child.
Remember, a few words can have a lasting influence so choose your words wisely.
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