Your Children Become the Words You Speak Over Them
When we had our first baby, he continuously amazed us. Partly because he was ours, the first creation that we made together, and partly because he was the closest reflection to God that either of us had seen.
We stared at him in admiration, and shouted at the rooftops to anyone who would listen! “He’s wonderful!”, “He’s incredible”, “He is so smart, watch him do sign language!”, “He is so good, he already sleeps through the night!”. As he grew, this continued, and as soon as we saw spark, we invested.
He was hitting balls like kids older than him, making goals in ever soccer game, knew his letters and their sounds before he was two, and honestly, I thought it was a direct reflection of me. His accomplishments were obviously a representation of the mom that I was… He wouldn’t be this smart with any other mom… right?
Then we had two.
Our second is everything opposite of our first. He is a great kid, don’t get me wrong, but he didn’t sleep as a baby, and he didn’t talk until he was almost two. Though he walked at 8 months, it wasn’t because he was in a hurry. His pace at life in general, is that of a 100 year old, crippled tortoise. He would matter-of-factly tell me that an “A” was a “2” every single time we worked on his letters and he cried to be away from me more than a few steps.
I actually apologized to his kindergarten teacher, since she had his older brother as a student too, before he ever started.
I worried that his anxiety was my fault, and I struggled with the fact that I worked with his brother more on his milestones.
How else did my kid get behind?
And yet he was only behind by the standard I had set for him.
Then I read something about the way we praise our kids.
I realized that I had been painting one with a paintbrush dipped in glitter and using a color palate of neon colors—and apologizing for the colors that I used for the other.
I was overlooking that our second child could build things out of Legos that the oldest couldn’t begin to dream up and can answer math questions quicker than my husband can.
It was me that wasn’t giving him a chance to show me his niche, but also because his makeup is so different that my first, he had no desire to prove himself either, just slowly reveal it in time.
But I wasn’t being patient.
I spoke to who he was, before he had even opened the gift completely.
I started thinking about the words I spoke over my kids and dug into the topic a little. I read to use words like “important”, “thoughtful”, “courageous” and “kind” and the one that struck me the most was learning to say, “I accept who you are”. I read to compliment their character, rather than saying things like “handsome”, and “smart” and I started living in that.
I know that, for me, as an adult, I live in the words that I speak; and as much as I hate to admit it—the words that are spoken about me. I bathe in them and wear them for the world to see.
‘Words of affirmation’ is my number one love language so I began to choose the way I loved on my boys, through my words, differently.
I truly believe that children become what they are told that they are and in my opinion, the world is set up to tell them that they aren’t enough.
So even through the eyes being rolled behind me, or the other parents who might take it as too much—I choose to drench mine in affirmation.
As their parents, we were chosen specifically, to be their biggest fans. We shouldn’t apologize for that. We should tell them that they are capable, that they are valued, and that they are set apart. We should point out the qualities of their peers and others around us, that we strive to mirror, and we should passionately convince them that we believe in them. We should tell them every day that they make us proud… and we should wholeheartedly believe and profess that they are great.
Maybe this is so obvious to you. But it was a light bulb for me!
I don’t have girls, but I hear my friends say how sassy they are… but by professing that about them, aren’t we in some way giving them the opportunity to fulfill the description?
Same with boys.
How often do you hear how rowdy they are? Or the old “boys will be boys” saying…
Speak to what you expect.
And lay those words down on them.
Think about the qualities that will carry them as adults, as parents, as spouses, and as employees, then buff ‘em up like a shiny penny.
Praise their manners, the way they respect others and their heart.
Praise their hustle, accountably and hard work.
Point out the way they make others feel, and acknowledge when they gave their best, even if it wasn’t the best of the race.
Let them hear your heart…
The words you speak will be the voice they tuck away and search for when they have nothing else to give.
In the words of William Martin:
“You do not have to make your children into wonderful people. You just have to remind them that they are wonderful people. If you do this consistently from the day they are born, they will believe it easily.”
This post really resonated with me and how I speak over my three very different children. How did it make you feel? If you have more than one child, did you notice the same experience in your children that Holly pointed out? Please share in the comments below!