Sunday, June 7, 2015


As in any family, there are times when words come out a little harsher and a lot more hurtful than was intended.  As a mom, it was one of my jobs not just to keep the peace, but help our daughters know the impact of their words.

"They may not remember what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel," once wrote Christian theologian Carl W. Buechner.

Choose carefully. Words are not returnable. Final sale.

And so, in the midst of a harsh or hurtful situation, I would ask my young offender, "How differently could you say that?"

It helped them to think first about the impact not just of what they said, but more importantly, HOW they said it.

Our youngest daughter had Mrs. O as a first grade teacher, a gentle and tiny woman who had an incredibly well-behaved and happy classroom.  She had some very rambunctious students that year, but she never raised her voice.  The children not only heeded her direction, they absolutely adored her.

I asked her how she did it.  "Velvet over steel," she replied.  She was firm but radically kind.

Pleasant speech increases persuasiveness.
                                  Proverbs 16.21

Kind words are always appropriate, even more so when harshness is expected.

The words I utter do not just impact the hearer, they impact the outcome, they impact the relationship, and they impact my heart.

How is my heart reflected in those words?
How is my heart changed by those words?
            For better or for worse.

Words heal.  Or words wound.

You choose.

Pleasant words are like honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul
and health to the body.
                 Proverbs 16.24

How differently can I say this?

Choose wisely.
Choose kindly.


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