I hope you are all enjoying Memory Monday as much as I am. I have two new verses in my heart and have had plenty of opportunity to use them. This week, we're going to memorize a verse that I've made my children memorize but never took the time to learn myself (bad mommy, I know). I know the general idea of the verse but can't recite the whole thing from memory. This week, we're going to change that.
Let's look at Ephesians 4:29, "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." If you have more than one child, you know that it can seem like you spend more time breaking up arguments than you do anything else. While our children are going to disagree with one another at times, this verse tells us that even when we disagree, we need to be respectful in our speech.
Remind your children that what comes out their mouths is a reflection of what is in their hearts. Because we have Jesus in our hearts, the words that come out of our mouths should be a reflection of Him. Ask your children to think about whether what they are about to say is a reflection of Jesus. If it's not, then they should keep those words in their mouths.
In our house, I tell my kids that every time they open their mouths, they should stop, count to three and think about if what they are about to say is useful for building others up. I have to tell you that if you are going to use this method, you need to apply it to your mouth as well. Nothing undermines our teaching, like our own example, which is why this verse is so important for all of us to remember.
Create a picture for your child of how hurtful words can tear someone else down. Give your child a set of building blocks or Legos and ask them to build the tallest tower that they can. About midway through their building process, walk by and knock it over. After they get done having a fit at what you've done, tell them that hurtful words do the same thing to people that you did to their tower -- it tears them down. Help your child rebuild his tower and talk about how we want our words to be helpful, just like your hands are helping your child. When our words are helpful, they build people up.
As school starts for many of us this week, may it be a week of helpful words and children who build each other up.