At about 18 months, M2 had a language explosion. He was learning several new words daily. He would repeat just about every word you said to him...except "love you". Not. Even. Once. I wasn't concerned, but we all became close to obsessed with being the first to get him to say it. That first "luvoo" melted our hearts. He was almost two.
It didn't take long for M2 to figure out how to adjust his tone and facial expression to match his words and to occasionally get a desired response. Now, if he causes me pain or spills something, he tilts his head to the side, displays a sad face, and says "torry, Mommy".
Of course, children quickly learn that their words also have the power to inflict pain. All of my boys have used the weapon of words against me at one point or another, but I'm seasoned enough to not let their words get under my skin.
"You're a mean mom!"
"I don't love you anymore!"
"I want a new mom!"
"I hate you!"
Even M2 has picked up on it and I get the occasional "toopid mom". Yes, my 26 month old has called me stupid. He doesn't yet know what it means, but he does know that it's a word that is discouraged and has a negative meaning.
Just as easily as those bitter words spill out, so do sweet words reaffirming a little boy's love for his mother. Complete with kisses and "huggies" around the neck.
"You're the best mom in the universe!"
"I love you to infinity and beyond!"
"I'm going to marry you when I grow up, Mom."
Even little words are a big deal. God has plenty to say about them. Not only do I need to teach my sons to carefully choose their words, but I need to take great care in doing the same. They will follow the example that my husband and I set.
Honestly, writing this post has been very convicting for me. I am not as careful as I should be when speaking to my sons. Many times, I am too harsh or my words are discouraging instead of building up. Please pray for me that the Lord would place a guard over my mouth. That I would set a godly example for my sons with my words, as well as my actions.
Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
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 benefit those who listen.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Happy Mother's Day!
May your day be blessed and filled with loving little words!