As I prepared to write this post, Toby Mac’s “Speak Life” played on the radio.
His bright song reminds me to use my words to uplift others from negativity.
I speak life most often within my home. Four of the five of us are “glass half-empty” people, and I thank God for giving us one naturally optimistic child! As a wife and mom, I work hard against my natural propensity to set a positive tone in our home.
When my husband complains after a hard day of work, as we all do sometimes, I first affirm his frustrations. Then I try to pull out any positives. Sometimes the only positive I can offer is, “The weekend is almost here.” Most days my words are the few positive ones that he hears. I want to build him up as an encouraging wife.
When my oldest son is negative and critical, I urge him to name one item of thankfulness on the spot. This sets his mind on a different track. I think he received a half-empty perspective from both his mom and dad, plus negativity seems to arrive with adolescence. So the odds are stacked against him right now.
But this summer my son decided on a change in perspective. He asked me one day, “Mom, have you noticed anything different about me?” Other than the fact that he seems to grow taller and hungrier by the day, I said no. He said he had tried to complain less after I had confronted him the week before on his negativity. Yes, I noticed the change once he pointed it out. I praised him for his new perspective. I’m glad he sees the value in speaking life or at least in keeping quiet when he doesn’t have anything positive to share.
Last year we started the “high-low” exercise at our supper table after I read about it in a Focus on the Family magazine. First we go mention our lows of the day. I don’t want our children to feel like they can’t be real with us; the lows are meaningful. But the highs are worth more. Some days are mundane and there isn’t much of a high, except maybe dessert (smile!). The best days are the days when we can say “I don’t have a low today!” The high-low exercise helps us stay connected and speak life to one another.
Speaking life is a conscious effort. Our family’s natural progression is to complain, gripe, and whine about troubles. It is so easy for my husband and I to speak carelessly, setting up a terrible example for our children to follow.
Proverbs 18:21 states, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” I want to bring life, not death, to my family with my words. I want my words to encourage, lift up, bless, and exhort. I want my words to plant seeds of life for future generations.
How about you—how do you speak life in your home?
Blessings to you, Sarah
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Copyright 2016 Sarah Geringer