Whitted speaks of a personal experience in which she was getting frustrated by her child’s lack of response to her questions, but then God tugged at her heart and she was able to take a moment to pause, scoop her child into her lap and ask her why she was struggling to respond with words. This changed the atmosphere in the moment and changed the course of the day as the child opened up and shared about feelings of shame and being overwhelmed which Whitted was then able to compassionately parent her through.
When we are dealing with children that are not listening or engaging, it is easy to assume it is simply an issue of disobedience and so we can miss out on what God is wanting us to learn more about - his forgiveness, patience, and steadfastness. We are invited to talk to God about the hard things, but with our own children, we can often jump to the conclusion that we need to be commanding them to obey. But rather than force obedience, we are called to invite our children to engage by speaking words of love and grace that draw them towards being a child of God who acts with kindness in this broken world. This ability to show compassionate, kind love is not easy and requires us to be humble and sanctified as we model to our children what God has done for them.
Proverbs 16:21 reminds us that if we want to bring others insight then we should be engaging them with a “sweetness of speech”, with words that are thoughtful, kind and inviting. When we do this we are showing our children a glimpse of the abundant love of God and we trust that the Holy Spirit will work through our words to convict, guide and shape their hearts.
Ultimately, the power of words is a reminder for us to use them with intentionality and love, inviting others to draw closer to Christ and learn more about the unconditional, never-ending grace he offers us.
Here is a brief excerpt from this article:
Do we understand the impact of our words on our children? We utter words every day in all sorts of situations, often without intentionality. Sometimes, when we are using words to keep order and get things done, we lose sight of the power they possess.
My years as a parent have helped me understand that my words do more than guide my children through their day. They shape how they think about themselves, other people, and how the world works. Most importantly, my words are one way my children learn about the gospel.
I remember one afternoon when I was exhausted, and one of my children was not answering...
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