“Children should be seen and not heard” a line frequently stated in my house growing up. Daily mothers remind children of their place and praying that their children don’t embarrass them in public with their words. My mother words ring in my ears today reminding me that there is a time and a place for me to watch what comes out of my mouth.
God, Are You There? It’s Me, Amy’s Mom
At this point in life my mothering skills remain unused due to lack of marriage and childbearing experience – that’s an entirely different story for another day. If the old saying’s true… that your children’s behavior is payback for your childhood…then a lifetime’s sleepless nights lie before me.
As it stands, the list of “do(s)” and don’t(s)” regarding acceptable child behavior grows exponentially as the pace of my exposure to children grows. Hopefully with significant time spent in prayer and a sharp eye focusing on the elements in my children’s environment I can keep my own from becoming derelicts. My mother still prays daily for the reformation of my derelict status. God still refuses to answer her.
Out of the Mouths of Babes
When I think of how the words of my future child might embarrass me, I am amazed at how individuals lacking fully developed logical thought processes impact the world around them. Mothers and fathers, alike, cringe fearfully when children’s words innocently embarrass them. Parents’ fearful thoughts rarely include the potential impact their child’s words could leave on a peer…a lifetime of scars. Children can, unknowingly, create deep excruciating pain because of the habits learned from adult role models. Parents worry about how their child will embarrass them, but do they worry about how their child could hurt another child…or worse, the child him- or herself?
Words Have Power to Heal and Hurt
Parents’ actions and words pattern appropriate behavior for the next generation. At what point do adult speech filtering capabilities evaporate? Yes, adults often engage in politically correct chatter, but seldom consider the impact their words can have on a heart. As the grey hairs rapidly increase in number upon my head, life teaches me that people intentionally use words to cause others pain just to fulfill something missing inside them.
Yes, I know it’s a bit naive to be 37 and just admitting to this to myself, but I tend to believe deeply in my heart (like teenage girls believe that Taylor Swift is a good singer) that people only desire to do good in actions and words. Yes, this is one of those times that I will admit “denial” is more than just a river in Egypt. Is the risk too great for our own egos to guard not just our hearts, but also the hearts of others only speaking words of kindness versus pain? Remember what grandma always said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Those were the days.
No Baby Is Ugly, But Words Can Belie an Ugly Heart
Just this past weekend someone mentioned a stepdaughter’s pending birth of her first child. The future mother was a bit inconvenienced with the timing of her new bundle of…well, she was not considering it joy because she wanted to focus her time on making money versus bottles. The woman who told me this information was more than aware of my infertility and deep desire to become a mother one day. She chose to ignore this pain and instead of went through a long list of detailing to me the drama around this new “ugly baby” (that’s how she spoke of the child) while my heart cringed with jealous desire. How could they say this to me when my pain was so fresh from my diagnosis? Words….
Oh, to live in a world where we only wielded the healing power of words rather than the hurting power.