Words have such power to speak things into being. I posted this photo on my feed, about how much I love it – not only because it captures so perfectly their personalities right now, but also how it shows the way my son is embracing his role as a big brother!
We believe so much in the power of words. Even before my daughter was born, we began speaking to my son regularly about being a big brother. We believe that those words have empowered and shaped him into owning that role for himself. In fact, it’s already amazing to see where he takes that – On his own, he is teaching his sister words, how to do things, showing her how the world works in his 3-year-old mind.
In many ways, it’s a powerful testament to us on how words can really shape someone’s mindset, experience, and I dare say even potential. Words carry so much power, for better or for worse. All too often, I’m sure many of us have experienced the ways words can tear down, deflate, or even destroy.
But on the flip side, words have the incredible power to build up. Words can empower. Words can transform. And in that sense, words can actually give life.
To that end, as early as when our kids were in utero, we would speak our hopes and prayers over them, words like “joy” or “beloved” or “strength”. We believe those words are playing a role in shaping their experiences, even if only serving as a daily reminder to us on creating an environment that helps cultivate those in them. . More recently, when our son was acting up one day and we were dealing with a huge temper tantrum, at one point, he declared that he was “bad”. My husband instantly stopped and said, “No. That is not the truth. You are good – a good listener, a good son, and Mommy and Daddy love you no matter what. You are just having a hard day.” It completely changed the dynamic, and my son went from tantrumming to just crying and wanting a hug. We were then able to connect with him, and soon, he calmed down and not only felt fine again but was so well behaved, sweet, and joyful the rest of the day.
That experience gave me pause and made me wonder though – what if my son hadn’t articulated what he was thinking about himself? What if my husband had not corrected him? Or worse, what if, in the heat of the moment, we had agreed with him? Would my son have started to believe that lie about himself? How would that have begun to shape him? When in fact, all along, he was merely crying out for some help and affection? It was a salient reminder of the incredible power our words can have, especially in our role as parents.
I can also point to so many times in my own life, how a kind word, an encouraging word, or even a prophetic word deeply impacted me. How those words completely shifted my paradigm. How they reframed my thinking. How they empowered me. How they incited me to action. And how they sometimes changed my entire trajectory.
It’s a salient reminder for me to be mindful with my words. Our words are truly powerful. They can truly transform someone’s experience. They can call our children into their potential. They become their inner voices. And in that regard, they can have an impact that stretches far beyond what we may ever know.