DO YOUR CHILDREN KNOW THE POWER OF THEIR WORDS?
Do your children put each other down? I remember being so cutting with my siblings when I was young. Unaware of quite how powerful my words were.
Our children are in the poo phase, when the biggest insult and funniest jokes are all poo related. Luckily it is pretty mild as far as insults go, but life and death are in the power of their tongues too and if they can learn now how to use their words for good, they will save themselves and others a whole lot of hurt and will become little salty, light ones.
Here are some ideas for how to get your family, youth group or church to use their words to encourage and build each other up;
1. If you hear them saying unkind things to each other, their punishment can be saying THREE KIND THINGS.
We have been trying this recently. If we catch our children being mean to each other, they have a couple of minutes time out until they are ready to come back and say three kind things. It is so sweet watching our son say to our daughter ‘I love you. You have a pretty dress. You look after your dolls well’. And watching her little smile light up.
The great thing about this is that it exercises the muscle of speaking truth over each other and normalises it. We help them along with ideas of kind things to say and soon they get the idea. Often when they are being mean it is a misplaced cry for connection anyway, so when that connection is found through being kind instead and watching the other ones heart melt, it is a win win.
2. Playing audio declarations
I recently recorded a full read through of I Am So Many Things and put it on a little player that the children have in their room. They listen to the declarations as they fall asleep and surprise surprise, they are learning them. Seeing our three year old saying ‘I am God’s masterpiece’ is too sweet for words! If you would like to use this audio version in your home, find it here. Or you can make up your own set of declarations for your children.
3. I love you because…
We have a family tradition, that on someone’s birthday, everyone goes around the table and tells that person why they love them. ‘I love you because…’ It can feel awkward and clunky at first, especially for the very British amongst us. But it is ALWAYS the recipient’s best birthday present. It is incredibly powerful and so much fun. Be warned, tears often begin to flow! So many of us are walking around with a total deficit in our Lovetanks and True Identity tanks and this is a great way to fill someone up. Worth recording it on your phone for the person too, as its great to listen back to later.
4. Declaration roulette
Have the I Am So Many Things book at your kitchen table and let it become part of your daily life. Maybe it’s a declaration a day that you read out at breakfast or before supper a different person gets to pick one at random. Then once you have a few under your belt, play this game;
One person starts by saying an ‘I am’ declaration, and it carries on going around the circle until you run out. The challenge is to not be the one to break the flow. So the more decs you have under your belt the longer you can go. Making things a game always help to learn these declarations and get used to saying them in a far less stuffy, or self conscious way.
Variations on the game are going around the circle saying kind things about one person until you run out and then you move to the next person and do the same and so on.
5. Declaration tennis
Similar to above, but you bounce declarations and words of encouragement across the circle by saying ‘You are…’ while looking someone in the eye. They then ‘pass the ball’ by bouncing a declaration on to someone else. This is great, as people can tailor make words of encouragement for a specific person and get used to building each other up.