Weighing our words - Catholic Courier

Weighing our words

"Will you please stop licking the appliances!" I told my then-2-year-old son, Joey, as he gleefully placed his tongue on the refrigerator door.

Since becoming a mom in 2004, I’ve said some pretty ridiculous-sounding things in response to my children’s behavior.

And I’m not alone!

My coworkers say they have made a variety of bizarre remarks to their kids, from "pants are not optional" to "please get out of the dishwasher." We’ve even created a list of our head-shaking utterances and hung it at the office.

As I add contributions to the list, it has become apparent to me how important it is for parents to weigh their words when speaking to their children.

For example, my son, John, 7, recently took a spelling sheet to his table before I had a chance to clean up his mealtime crumbs. As he attempted to maneuver the paper around the mess, he complained that he couldn’t possibly complete the assignment for lack of room.

"You have to be smarter than the crumbs!" I responded as I wiped away the debris.

I thought I was saying something humorous in response to a silly situation, but in relaying my remark to the keeper of our list, I realized it could be taken in a negative way, which was not my intention.

So I’ve decided to make a mental note of this incident — as well as refer to the poem "Children Learn What They Live" by Dorothy Law Nolte — so that I’m always mindful that the words I use in dealing with my sons should serve to build them up and lift their spirits.

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