The other day my husband mentioned to me that he heard a funny song on the radio.
He couldn’t remember what it was called, but he thought I would think it was funny as well so we googled lyrics he could remember until we found it. The song was “Words” by Hawk Nelson. It was a song on Christian radio about the power of words.
In my opinion, it was a cheesy song. No disrespect to the artist, but Christian song or not I just thought it was cheesy. I should probably preface this by saying that I worked at a Christian radio station for three years where I monitored the station for eight hours a day, hearing the same playlist of songs repeat over and over for months at a time. Considering that Christian pop isn’t really my style of music in the first place, I sometimes took a humorous approach to what I was hearing.
So Jon and I had a little laugh over this song and moved on with our evening.
This morning I read a chapter from my book Bringing Up Boys, which also happened to be about the power of words.
My time reading ended in me curled up in a ball on the floor praying and Cameron crawling on top of me like a jungle gym.
My son is at the stage where he is really starting to pick up on things. Maybe he did before, but now Jon and I can actually tell that he’s understanding more and more. He observes everything around him and has even started mimicking certain things he’s seen or heard. By the end of the 49er game last weekend he was squawking and waving his arms around when we would. (It was a proud father, son moment in our living room).
This morning, when I realized how far I was from God’s will and a good example to my son, I desperately asked God for the help that only he can provide.
I wouldn’t say that I have a dirty mouth, but I do have a large vocabulary of slang terms that I would not want my son to pick up on. Phrases like, “What the…!?”, “Holy moly!”, “Dang”, “Darn”, “Crap”, “Freakin'”, and “Gosh dang,” frequent my vocabulary. Sometimes I slip and say “God,” to which my husband now sarcastically responds with, “Who?” Last summer I was eating pizza with my friend and her three year old son. I responded to something by saying “what the…” and the three year old turned to me and said, “You shouldn’t say that. It’s a naughty word.”
I’m not going to lie, I felt embarrassed and convicted because the three year old was right.
“As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he.” -Proverbs 23:7, NKJV
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” -Phillipians 4:8
I’m not a parenting expert by any means, but I do understand that the most basic and powerful parenting principle is this: You are THE EXAMPLE to your children. A million other things will influence them, but the most powerful and significant example is you as a parent.
If I curse, it gives my children permission to curse. And if I tell them it’s not okay then I become a hypocrite and I lose their respect.
Through my mistakes I can also teach them about grace and repentance, but without intentionally growing in my weak areas I will end up teaching them about ‘cheap grace,’ and what it looks like to make excuses for myself.
I think this is one of the most difficult things to swallow as a parent. I kind of wish it weren’t true because it’s really challenging. But this phenomenon can also drive me into deeper reliance on God and a greater desire to become more pure and holy like him.
Hard but true facts.