“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” (Proverbs 18:21) The Message
I’ve been pondering a lot lately on the power of my words. One day I was helping my son with his schoolwork; listening to him lament on how much this assignment will stink and how awful he was going to do on it. (This is before he even started it.) I responded by telling him that what he was saying was already influencing how his assignment was going to turn out and by thinking and saying those things he was setting himself up for the failure of the assignment. Great parenting advice right? You’ve probably had some similar conversation with your child. Attitude is 90% of the battle, you can do this, etc. Good pep talk stuff right? However later that night the Lord revealed to me that in some areas of life we, as adults, do the same thing that I had just told my son not to do.
Do any of these ring true for you? A newborn, you must be so tired! Oh no, the terrible twos! You have a teenager; hang on it’s going to get rough! A tooth, there goes your sleep! We all have heard or said things like this. They seem innocent enough and sometimes oh so true. But, in the moment I was having with the Lord that night, I began to realize that sometimes it might not be so innocent.
My son just turned 13 and while I am not naïve enough to think that there won’t be bumps and bruises along the way, right now he’s the same boy I loved before. He even asked me the other day, “Mom what is the big deal about this 13 thing? I feel the same today as I did yesterday.” I didn’t really have a great answer. I didn’t want to project onto him all the pitfalls that the, “Oh you have a teenager now,” statement includes. I just brushed it off and told him not to worry about it. But I couldn’t shake the question.
The Lord answered me by reminding me of the school conversation with my son. Just as my son was going into an unknown assignment with an already failing attitude and low expectations, sometimes we as parents do too. Maybe my son’s teenage years will be rough, there probably will be tears and frustrations, but is already worrying about them and projecting those fears onto him going to help? Maybe, just maybe, God wants us to just worry about today and he’ll give us the strength to get through the tough times tomorrow. I don’t know what my kids’ teenage years will bring, but what if it’s joy in them becoming all that God has for them and enjoying each step, however messy, instead of going in with a failing attitude.
There is power in the words that we say. There is power in the attitude we have. If you’re a parent, you’ve had that talk with your kid. Now God wants you to know it’s still true for you. Whatever stage you are in, be careful not to get caught up in the trap of generalizations and unnecessary worry. Will you miss a lot of sleep with that newborn? Possibly, but it may be the greatest time of bonding you have with your child. Maybe you’ll be the fortunate one that has a baby who is a good sleeper. Will teething be a terrible stage for you? Maybe, but maybe your child will breeze right through it. Will you have a rebellious teenager? Maybe, but maybe you’ll have a young man or woman you’re raising up to be a mighty warrior for Christ. Only God knows who and what your child will become. Don’t jump to conclusions based on statistics. The last thing we want to do is have our child become the norm because it was expected for them to. In each season of life remember that God is the guide and he’ll get you and your child through. Trust is better than worry!
God, I pray that you will help us, as parents, to trust in you and not get caught up in what culture tells us about our child. Only you know their innermost being. Thank you for the privilege of parenting the next generations of warriors for you.