Words Matter :: day 26

words-matterCommunicating to our children that words matter

I spent several summers in my teens working on staff at a Christian camp – most of those summers being 13 weeks long. Every night {and some weeks every morning too!} we had staff devotions all together… needless to say, it was lots and lots of solid Bible teaching and devotional thoughts poured into my impressionable mind. It was good and I am sure has impacted me in ways I don’t even realize.

But, having said all that, over ten years later from all those weeks at camp, there is only one devotion time that I remember clearly, and it is one I have thought about often.

It was about how words matter.

We were split into small groups and each given a portion from the book of James that we were to rewrite and turn into a poem. My small group consisted of a missionary kid fresh from Africa and a troubled youth who was at camp to help get his life straightened up. Our poem turned into a rap. It was all sorts of cool. I still have it somewhere.

After we shared our masterpiece with the bigger group, and they shared theirs with us, the person leading it wrapped it up with a few little thoughts on how our words matter. Somewhere in there she shared this quote from an unknown source;


Of your unspoken word you are the master,
Of your spoken word the servant,
And of your written word the slave.

Through every journal I have kept and each Bible I have owned I have penned those words somewhere near the beginning pages. We need to be convinced of this and communicate to our children the significance of words.

“Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark… With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” – James 3:5b, 9&10

In a world where quick communication is common place our children need to know that words matter.

With the increase of connecting over social portals our children need to be raised with a keen sense of awareness that words matter; both the words that they speak and the ones that they type. Especially the words that are typed.

This is a problem with the current generation; a comfortableness with tweeting, texting, facebooking, tumbling, you-tubing, e-mailing or blogging everything. In ten years, when my boys are in the midst of it all, the current “it thing” will have moved on to something else. I don’t know what that will be, but in one way or another it will involve a communication of words and I can prepare my kids for that by instilling in them the great sense of responsibility we bear when choosing our words and raising them with the awareness that they are masters of their unspoken words.

And then, reminding them of Philippians 4:8;

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things…” because “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

Day 26 of 31 Days of Communicating With Our Children. Click here to see all posts in this series.

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One Reply to “Words Matter :: day 26”

  1. Great post Jessica!

    If anyone is looking for a simple object lesson about spoken words, I have often used the toothpaste tube to illustrate that you can't take your words back once they are spoken. I start by just having a child squeeze all the toothpaste out of the tube onto a paper plate. Next, I challenge the child next to him to put the toothpaste back into the tube. Of course they laugh, and they may try, but they cannot do it. Then I just say how our words are the same, once they are spoken they cannot be taken back. Simple but reinforces the point.
    My recent post Day 27 – How Music Bridges the Gap between Left vs. Right Brain

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