I have always loved words. They have the power to destroy but they also have the power to uplift. How we speak to each other and how we speak to our children can have a huge impact on how they see the world. You see, words matter.
I Wish You Were Anybody But You
A few years ago, my kids attended a weekly gym class where parents were invited on the floor to participate with their child. There was one rule. No electronics! For the most part, that rule was respected.
One Saturday morning, I sat beside a mom who was visibly frustrated with her child. He was testing her limits and she had clearly had enough. She looked at him right in the eye and loudly said, “I wish you were anybody but you!” He looked crushed. The one person who was supposed to love him unconditionally was telling him that he wasn’t enough.
She then proceeded to spend the rest of the class alternating between her phone and laptop. Clearly the no electronics rule was not enforced that day but her son got a clear message. You are not enough. You aren’t enough for me to put away my electronics for 45 minutes and I wish you were someone else.
I am not telling this story to shame anyone. We have all had our moments when we were pushed beyond our limits and didn’t handle it well. I tell this story because words matter. Once they leave your lips, they are out there. We can all relive the worst things that were said about us a lot quicker than the compliments.
I recently went to happy hour with some of the moms from my daughter’s soccer team. We started talking about our husbands. The coach’s wife had recently told me that she won the lottery when she met her husband. When this was shared with the group, another said that she met her husband in high school and she still gets butterflies with him after all these years. A third mom shared that she married a wonderful partner.
I left the restaurant smiling. It is such a rare experience to hear everyone so positive about their spouse. Their words were supportive and kind. At the next soccer game, I told the husbands what their wives had said. You could literally see them beaming. Words matter.
I recently saw this quote online and it resonated with me. “The way people treat you is a statement about who they are as a human being. It is not a statement about you.” Show people who you are by your words and your actions. Affirm the people you love and try to give grace to those who need it, even when it is really hard. And remember…your words matter.