I'd like to revisit two topics in lieu of a grocery store experience I had yesterday evening.
Lesson #1: Our words should BUILD OTHERS UP not TEAR THEM DOWN.
As a man walked by us in the grocery store yesterday, Cole yelled out,
"Look at that fat guy."
It took me a moment to register what happened before I was able to snap out of my state of complete shock.
My mind went into overdrive trying to figure out WHY he would ever say such a thing.
WE DO NOT use that word in our house, I DO NOT talk about my weight or anyone else's, and if a book we are reading uses that word we omit or replace it entirely.
He said it...it happened...
thus I must address it.
I calmly turned into the next aisle for a very brief but serious pow-wow with Cole. And then thirty minutes later once we checked out, loaded the car with grocery, and got all buckled into the van we talked further about it.
"Boys, when I had all those pimples all over my face it was hard for me to be around people. Do you know why?...Because I was very afraid that I would get made fun of or people would point them out and say things like, 'Look at her gross face. What is wrong with her?' I did not want anyone to say things about my face that would tear me down because I knew my feelings would be very hurt."
"Cole, you did NOT build that man up with your words? I understand that you didn't mean to hurt his feelings, but we must ALWAYS think about
whether our words will build up and make someone feel good
whether our words will tear down and make them feel hurt and sad.
Do you understand kiddo?"
And with what I felt was very sincere, he answered,
"Good. Let's remember we can always ask ourselves:
Are my words building up or tearing down?"
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may beneift those who listen."
Lesson #2: Suffering produces character & enables us to comfort others in their suffering.
Immediately following that conversation Grayden says to me,
"Mom, two kids made fun of me today at school."
My Tiger-mom thoughts screamed, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO."
Yet, calmly I said. "Oh Grayden, I'm so sorry to hear that. What were they making fun of you about?"
"They were laughing at my Dora bandaid, saying it was for girls."
I tried to keep in the giggle.
"Oh buddy, did that hurt your feelings?"
"Yes," he said very solemnly.
"I'm sorry that happened. What did you say to them?"
"Nothing. I just felt sad."
"Did they BUILD YOU UP with their words?"
"Well G, there is something GOOD for you that is going to come out of this. You now know how it feels to be TORN DOWN by someone's words. You know that words can make you feel hurt or sad. AND SO...next time you are tempted to say something that is unkind and will tear someone else down, you hopefully won't because you will remember how it feels to have hurtful words said to you. When we suffer, our hearts grow and learn. But for now kiddo, let God comfort you because He loves you and wants to take away your hurt and sadness."
Suffering Produces Character
"...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4
Suffering Enables Us To Comfort Others
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
I drove out of that grocery store parking lot so very thankful for God's grace on me. And I silently prayed that God's lessons for us through that experience, would STICK and make us more like Jesus.
Join me today and let's pray the following over our children:
Jesus, I pray my children's words would build others up according to their needs. I pray they would develop self-control and be able to discern whether their words will, in fact, build up or tear down. I pray that when they experience tear down words that leave them hurt and sad that You would use the opportunity to build character in them AND that you would be their comfort. And I pray that they would then in turn use the comfort they received from You to comfort others who might be experiencing a similar suffering.