Words That Lift Up and Words That Cut

The tongue is a double edged sword.  We are told to be slow to speak, quick to listen.  We are told to use the word to love, to lift up, to encourage, to support.  The words, once spoken, do their job as intended.  As a parent, it’s my job to use my words for the betterment of our children.  Sometimes it’s a balance of Truth and Grace and the words might be painful.  Sometimes they are over flowing with with love, joy,&  hope.  Sometimes- sigh- sometimes they’re filled with anger and frustration.  I’m fully aware my words are internalized by our 4 children.  I know they listen to how I speak to them, their siblings, and every single person I come in contact with.  I’m their teacher.  (no pressure- )

They have words too.

Today I asked the ‘ladies’ a question (for discussion) about home school vs. public school.  At the ripe ages of 6.5 yrs. and 9 yrs. of age they thoughtfully, and with Truth and Grace, gave me their answer.  To be honest I had a hard time deciphering the over all “grade” I’m making as Teacher of the Year.  Of course the mention of recess, gym, school dances, and even Valentine’s Day parties came about as missed activities.  And once they started to focus on the comparative challenge level and rigor of the two types of schooling I felt my head swimming as I tried to interpret the whirl of words.

It was a whirl.

I felt a tornado of emotions as they spoke.  They’re 6 and 9 and some of the words cut.  They’re 6 and 9 and some of their words were encouraging.  They’re 6 and 9- and in the end, they’re little kids, trying to figure out what I want to hear. It was a whirl.


I felt deeply affected by their approval and critique.  I questioned if I should be schooling them even though I have a Masters degree in instruction. I’m qualified. I’ve done it for years (professionally) and I really enjoy the art of teaching. But I felt deflated.  Like all my efforts to make learning exciting, enriching, and empowering were for naught.

Here were the words that did it…

“Public School was harder.  We had to cram a lot in in a little bit of time.  Like 30 min. for this and 30 min. for that.  We did poetry everyday in public school.  There are some things that we do now that are challenging and some things that are easy.  There are some things that are just right.”

Buck up.  Right? I know some would think that.  It’s true.  Buck up. But all I could hear was Public School was harder.  I stopped listening after that.

I heard the words. But I didn’t listen to them really.  And what she said was that she felt rushed.  That they had bits of time to manage a lesson with a classroom full of students of varying personalities and learning levels, behavioral needs and environmental constraints to fulfill a prescribed lesson/curriculum.  She said that they did poetry daily (and we do not do it daily).  She said that I am meeting her needs by varying the challenge level.  By and large, she said good things.  But I heard, and interpreted, one sentence alone.

Does she (they) do this when I speak? Focus on one sentence? – you bet-

Words can lift up and words can cut.  Do you know that for every one negative statement you make to your kids, it takes TEN positive statements to get their focus back and off the negative?  (that’s the statistic I learned in University)

Full Circle Moment

It’s such a blessing to have a bit of time to write and reflect on our day because it literally has just come out of me (this understanding of how I stopped listening and focused on the first sentence my little lady spoke). It gives me a bit of perspective on how they listen to my words; how each word I speak is important. I’m hopeful that I might be more mindful of how I balance Truth and Grace with the girls especially because we’re spending more time with each other as homeschooling is now part of our life.

Tonight I will be praying that I will be slow to speak and quick to listen.


One thought on “Words That Lift Up and Words That Cut

  1. Lori,
    I think you are doing a wonderful job raising and teaching your children.we all seem to focus on the negative. We are our own worst critics. Keep up the good work.

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