What We Feed Our Kids
This past Saturday I had a chance to talk to a group of young ladies about self-confidence. The goal was to help them understand that God’s word clearly shows them who they are in Him and to help them drown out the noise. It was a wide range of ages – 7 through 18, but I kept hearing the same phrases from many of them when I asked them to list all of the negative things they’ve heard about themselves: fat, ugly, stupid, loud, bossy, shy, mean, nappy-headed, and on and on and on. As I listened to them, I realized that somewhere they had been fed a bunch of negative talk and unfortunately many of them carried it with them. I made them scratch out those words and change how they talked about themselves. Shy? Focused on what’s going on around you and being observant. Bossy? Good leadership skills. Loud? Boisterous. Fat? It’s an adjective but you’re also a warrior. As we changed the language I could see backs getting a little straighter and heads being held a little higher.
I don’t know what the long term impact on them will be but it made me think about the language we use around our kids and the language we allow them to hear. I’m not talking about curse words or the like. You shouldn’t walk around dropping the f-bomb just because but things happen. I’m talking about how we talk about others and the lives of others. Do they hear us talk about people of a different race/religion/ethnicity/gender/sexual orientation with disdain? Do they hear us talk about someone’s looks with disgust or envy? Do they hear us talk to our spouses with admonishment and sarcasm? Do they hear us talk about their bad choices as if it makes them bad people?
There are tons of movements know about what food we put into our kids. How sugar, corn, gluten, red dye number 10 is killing them and akin to feeding them poison. But what about how we talk about our kids who aren’t always well-behaved? Or the ones who like Harry Potter and Taylor Swift when we were raised on The Source Magazine and UGK? Or the ones who may be at the top of the growth chart or the very bottom? Or the son who prefers painting and dance over football or video games? Or the daughter who prefers football and comics over dance and dolls?
Our children hear everything. I’m not perfect. I mess up and my mouth gets the better of me. But when I do, I try to go back and fix it. I’ve been fed some of those words by enemies and friends, family and foes, and the weight you carry from it is very hard to lose.
Until next time…