Recently I was completely embarrassed by some of the words I heard one of my children say to another child at the ball park. In front of both parents, the words sounded mean, though I didn’t feel in my heart they were hateful. Sometimes children don’t recognize the power of words. In fact, many adults don’t always recognize the power of words, right? This situation needed to be addressed right on the spot, but I also wanted to be more preventive in the future.
So I began to brainstorm ways I could work on this issue and I came up with 5 creative ways to teach children the power of words. Keep reading for my ideas and I sure would love to read yours in the comments!
1. Emphasize the results of positive words.
For example, if I say to my youngest, “Great job for taking your plate to the sink” and she smiles, then I smile at my older child and say “See how much she likes to be praised? It’s a good thing to praise others.” Now please believe me that I haven’t perfected this method. But I’ve been working on it this week and I truly believe in the impression made on both children.
2. Brainstorm positive words about a family member and make a word cloud.
Just open up a Word or Google doc and type out positive words that are said about the named person. Then copy and paste the word list over to a word cloud site such as Wordle or Tagxedo. I asked two of my children to quickly do this for Daddy and here was the result:
Now it kind of looks like he is a “fast singer” but you get the idea.
3. Model the power of positive words.
Falling in the trap of constantly correcting my children is so easy for me. Don’t get me wrong- they do need to be corrected, but if all I ever do is correct and never deliberately praise them, we have an imbalance and injustice. This is the reason I have created the following lists- 20 things to say to encourage your husband and 20 things to say to encourage your children. I have the lists printed off and right now they are in my checklist binder that I keep in the kitchen. Because I open this binder several times throughout the day, I see the lists and am reminded of my goal to be positive. If I’m having a particularly trying day, ummm, maybe like today when my 3 year old spit her gum in my purse and made a sticky mess, then I’ll post the lists to the fridge.
4. Use positive words to build an acronym of your child’s name.
My son did this at his school this year. I noticed that he kept it on his dresser from December even until just now when I asked him if I could post it here- that’s how much this exercise meant to him. These words gave him a goal of how to use his own words to reflect the person he wants to be- his character.
5. Use Bible verses to build an acronym of your child’s name.
Here’s what my name would look like:
R- Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Ex. 20:8
A- A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger. Prov. 15:1
C- Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee. Ps 55:22
H- Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. Prov. 3:13
E- Even a child is known by his doings, Prov. 20:11
L- Let the words of my mouth, and the medications of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer. Ps. 19:14
My friend, Betty, mailed her verse list to me and I’m providing you with a copy of what she sent to me. Her list is King James Version AND I have no way to credit the original creator of the list, but I really thought you would enjoy it. Click here to download.
You could find your own verses that have personal meaning and use those verses for this exercise also.
In our current culture, bullying seems to be more evident than ever. What is bullying? Well, to me, it simply is the misuse of the power of words. Perhaps you have different definition, but I believe the need for Biblical resources to address this issue is high. I’m excited to let you know about the first book of a new series by Nancy Rue, So Not Okay: Mean Girl Makeover. The series is designed for girls, ages 8-12, and tells the story of bullying from three different perspectives. The bully, the victim and the bystander all have a book in the series and this particular book is the story of the bystander, a role in which many preteens find themselves.
I thought you would want a sneak preview of this book:
Today I’m privileged to be giving away one copy of So Not Okay, just follow the Rafflecopter to enter. If you’d like to order the book, you can find it here.
Have a thriving Thursday!
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