Be Careful What You Say – Make It Kind!

by Mary Ann on March 2, 2015

The Final Winner!!


The winner of this weeks book give away is Kelli Gates! Congratulations! Your autographed copy is in the mail. I hope everyone enjoyed hearing about Norma Jean’s journey from a childhood dream, through motherhood and right on to author. I know it has inspired me. Today I want to talk about how we can make or break our children, friends and family…well, even complete strangers.

“Our words carry enormous weight. More than we sometimes think. They often impact people for decades, providing the courage to press on or one more reason to give up.” Michael Hyatt

bradyWho Wears Shoes TOO Big?

My daughter Kate wore shoes that were a size too big for many years after she became a teenager. I didn’t realize she was doing that. In fact, she was married before I found out. Her husband found out first and he called her on it.

“Why do you buy shoes that are a size too big”, he asked her. She replied that she had big feet and needed a bigger size. Well, eventually the whole story came out.

She doesn’t really have big feet. She wears the same size that I do, a respectable eight. But one day when she was a child her dad said something that impacted her for years.

We were hiking and she had climbed a tree. Kate was about eight or nine. She lifted her foot and set it on a branch. Her dad made what seemed like an innocent comment, “Hey Big Foot”. The rest is history. She computed that to mean that she had big feet.

Easter4 resizedI Believed I WAS Fat!

When I was about eight my grandma said something that impacted me for all of my childhood and many years into my adulthood. She owned a Sweet Shop in Afton, Wyoming. I loved going there and she would let me work the candy counter and bag popcorn.

We grandkids could have lots of nickel and penny candy but we were never allowed to have chocolate bars because they cost a quarter. One day, before I had all the unspoken rules down, I asked her if I could have a Twix bar. I had never had one and Don and I 3they seemed so wonderful up on the highest shelf. She said, “No, do you want to get fat.”

Another pretty innocent comment but here is what I heard and believed for many years…”You are fat”.

The TRUTH is I Have Beautiful Eyes!!!

Not only did I begin believing I was fat, I believed that I must be really unattractive because I was fat. But when I was seventeen I was at the home of a woman who was doing some alterations on a dress for me. Her husband told me that I had the most beautiful brown eyes. I know that it seems incredible because I didn’t even know the man, but I believed him. I had beautiful eyes! Even now at 65, when I look into the mirror I think to myself, “Man, you have beautiful eyes.”

Pigs or Pig Sty…That Was the Question

When I was a middle aged mom, with six of my seven children, I came down the stairs one day to the sight of a totally cluttered living room.  As I gazed out over the room and the many children playing there I said, “This room is a pig sty”. Many years later, when my oldest child was in her late thirties we were having a conversation about moms and how they should talk to their children. I made the comment that although I wasn’t perfect I at least never called anyone names. My daughter looked at me in astonishment and said, “yes you did”. I, equally astonished, asked her to tell me when. She replied, “Well, one day you came down the stairs and you said, “You are such pigs!”

Wow, talk about two different views of the same experience. We talked about it. What we both realized is that children hear what they hear and we just need to be careful what we say, because children don’t always hear the words…they hear the feeling.

It is not just children that hear a comment and then believe it. It isn’t just the young that are affected by what is said to them. Let me illustrate. I will have to tell on myself a bit, but for the sake of emphasis I will do it. : )

The SATISFYING Laugh, Ahhh!

My youngest daughter is married to a really  wonderful man. We like him a lot and frankly, he thinks we are great too. Recently I was talking to my daughter on the phone and she said something that made me laugh.

I have to stop here and say something about my laugh. It is distinctive and it can be loud. I have a witch laugh that is legendary and on Halloween I am called upon to do it a lot. Frequently, during the year, a grandchild will say, “Grandma do the witch laugh.” Now all of my laughter isn’t witchy but that just lets you know it is distinctive and sometimes loud. I have always been a bit self conscious about it.

tumblr_mf4oc2DhGW1qbta5fo1_500Back to the phone conversation. I laughed and I heard my son in law say something in the back ground. “Mom, Brady said he likes your laugh.” That was such an odd comment that I asked her “Why?” She asked him and then came back on line and said, “He said it is satisfying.” Isn’t that the most amazing thing to have someone say?

Here is what has happened from that chance comment. Every time I laugh I think to myself, “That is so satisfying.” I am no longer self conscious, but  pleased.

Our words can be very powerful for both good and bad. We need to be thoughtful in how we talk to our children and others, about their strengths and their weaknesses, because sometimes what we say can impact them for decades.

In all of our teaching and interactions with our children we should be kind.

In all of our teaching and interactions with our children we should be kind. Kind words not only lift our spirits in the moment they are given, but they can linger with us over the years. The same is true of the off hand or unkind chance remark.

Before you speak ask yourself: “Is what I am about to say going to uplift the hearer? Will it inspire, motivate, and create forward momentum for them? Will it dissolve fear and create safety and trust? Will I create a positive or negative ripple effect by speaking out these words?” (from Harness the Power of Words By Barbara White)

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