As I have looked at Facebook I see everyone getting ready for the school year to start. It makes me want to remind parents, kids, and teachers to please be kind and loving. Remember to treat others the way you want to be treated. I wish adults could realize the impact every word has on a child, especially, one who is ultra tenderhearted. I’ve heard some people say, “Well, we have to toughen them up to be prepared for the world.” I couldn’t disagree more. What they need is nurturing, the word of God, uplifting words, unconditional love, and a safe place to come home when they have been “beat down” all day out in the world. I don’t mean just when they go to middle school and high school. I am talking about as young as a two-year-old at daycare and preschool.
Honestly, I believe the world beats any self-esteem out of you, starting at the playground in preschool, or at parks while learning to interact with other children. Kids can be so mean, and some teachers thoughtless in the things they say to a child. We may not remember every kind word people said to us but I bet you, like me, remember every time you were mistreated, misunderstood and overlooked. If a kid can make it to adulthood with their self-esteem, goals and dreams in tact, it is a true miracle of God.
The world is loaded with people walking around with a strong exterior, but inside their heart has been crushed into tiny pieces … lots of broken people that trace it all back to their childhood. I believe what we have are ‘life-givers’ and ‘life-suckers.’ What follows are little people trying to grow up doing their best to maintain a balance weighing on their tiny shoulders full of both kinds of words. I pray we would all choose to be life-givers and teach our children to speak life-giving words to others. Psalm 119:25, “My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!”
I had unbelievably wonderful adults throughout my life that influenced me in so many positive ways. I am very grateful for that background. Sadly, I also had my share of life-suckers during my childhood. Without thought, they squeezed and crushed me like a bug. They were harsh and scary. My second grade teacher was the embodiment of the harsh and scary. She quite nearly scarred me for life. I was terrified to go to school … I still am! Only by the grace of God did I continue on to complete my master’s degree. That certainly was due to my parents, who were so loving and life-giving. Their words of affirmation crushed the scary teacher’s words and helped me manage.
Proverbs 13:3 says, “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”
A side note, as this seems common to me … your child may not even tell you the trauma they are enduring. Watch for warning signs like being quiet, sullen and withdrawn. This is why you have to talk to your kids deeply every day. Give them that safe, secure environment so it isn’t a struggle for them to tell you when they’re hurt. The very best way to insure they will never come to you again with a deep problem is for you to put it back on their shoulders and accuse them of being somehow responsible for it happening. Your default needs to always be in their corner.
Every child is different inside and needs to be treated as such. I am incredibly sensitive, and all you had to do to discipline me was to look at me with a stern face. My brother, on the other hand, needed a firmer hand. Then you have my little sister who I believe was, literally, perfect — and still is! She is, certainly, one of the best people I know. She teaches music … but what she really does is love and build up children all day who don’t have much love in their home. It’s a high calling to work with children. Many of you hold lots of tender futures in your hands, please don’t squeeze too hard.
Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death.”
When our son Lance was a baby, Bill used to hold him up behind the pulpit and talk for him in a baby voice and say to the empty room…” this is my first sermon, everybody love Jesus and be sweet!” I think that is exactly what we should all do. Love Jesus and be sweet!
My blog later this week is going to be somewhat of a part two. It is going to be on Humility.