Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Setting The Ground Rules {5 Days to Better Communication}

The bible had taught me the Power of My Words and I began the journey of choosing to carefully count the value of my words.  First came marriage and then the game changer, the baby carriage.  

Hubby and I were experts at using words; we required no mind reading and told each other what was needed to make our relationship work.

I remember the joy of bringing our first child home from the hospital and the anxiety of wondering how I would ever know what that tiny person wanted. Moms who had gone before me assured me that given time I would instinctually know what each cry meant.  If he was wet, hungry or just needed to be picked up and held.

I had seen many mothers work this magic with a great skill but as time went by I just had no clue. He spoke cry and I spoke words. The more he cried the more I tried to get him to understand my words. Honestly out of all my children, my first got the most practice with the crying but then the others had him as a mediator with mom.

It might be sad to admit that after the checklist of
  • Is he hungry?
  • Does he need to be changed?
  • Attempted to rock him to sleep

I would just sing till he stopped crying, oh how I longed for the day when he would understand my words and we would understand each other.

Then came those precious first words and the joy of teaching the meaning of the words.

When my bundle of joy started talking, I knew that to teach biblical communication I needed a set of rules and words that were just unacceptable in our home. 

Some communication training rules:

  1. You must always be respectful because I will be respectful of you. Show proper respect to everyone. 1 Peter 2:17 
  2. Only one of us may speak at a time, and I will never try to out talk you.
  3. I will always listen to what you have to say. EVERYONE should be quick to LISTEN, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19
  4. You are free to express your feelings using respectful words
  5. I will comfort and listen when you are crying. You ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 2 Corinthians 2:7
  6. You may question or disagree with mummy and daddy, we encourage you to choose for yourself. Note this allows your child to think through and choose to obey or face your consequences. Choose my instruction instead of slier, knowledge rather than choice gold. Proverbs 8:10 

Have a clear conviction on what words your family will never use and hold yourself accountable to keeping those words from your lips.

A few of our words

Cannot – I tell parents not to tell their children that they cannot do anything. If your child is willing to try something do not discourage them with this word. If you are concerned find a way to help them or explain it differently. A good example is driving, it is not that I cannot drive wherever I want; I can, it is that I chose to obey the rules and drive safely.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Stupid and foolish - these words mean the same thing. You are telling your children that you believe that they are unable to think.  I see no reason why I would want to instill in them that they are incapable of thinking and I would not want them referring to others or themselves in that way.

For you are God’s own handiwork, 
recreated in Christ that you may do the good works that God predestined.
Ephesians 2:10

Always, and never are opposites but still criminal. Always means at all times; on all occasions but never means at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever. I will not even try to attempt to explain what is wrong with these two words and suggest the better alternative of sometime.  

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

Remember that you are modeling for your children how they should communicate in an expressive and productive manner. 

What words do you choose to avoid using with your children? Do you have rules for communicating? Choose to create some today!
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Teaching What is Good