Have you ever heard your words…. come out of your child’s mouth?
At my age, my friends and I joke about the things we swore we
would never say to our children that our parents said to us. You know, like the “Because I said so, that’s why” (the answer used when all logic is exhausted). I say at my age, because I didn’t always think this way…now I know better. Now I know that some answers are the best answer for those young inquiring minds… after reason and logic are exhausted and having no man of the house to whom I could redirect their attention and inquisition… I said, “because I said so” and I will add here… that a younger parent may not be at that point… and I gently suggest that we all get there.
It feels different hearing your words coming out of your 8 year old’s mouth, now. Right this moment.
It feels different. Especially when you recognize the tone of voice … and it might not be so nice.
It feels…. terrible… sigh…when the tone of voice and words imply something negative … and you realize that you taught that to your kids.
If it doesn’t sound nice coming out of an 8 year old’s mouth… it doesn’t sound nice coming out of a 48 year old’s mouth.
That’s a hard lesson to learn. Learn it. Here’s the trick. Change how you speak to yourself, to your family, and to other people with these three easy steps:
Let everything past the 3 question filter.
Ask yourself these three questions and if you can’t answer yes to all three… don’t say it. don’t write it. AND since we know you’ve already thought it… recognize it, let it go and move on.
The three questions:
#1) Is it nice
#2) Is it true
#3) Is it necessary
Really, don’t accept a YES for 2 out of 3… You need all three.
This one simple change will radically alter what you write in emails to friends, how you talk about things and what you talk about.
This is not a call to judge other people’s chit chat… this is FOR YOU to guide YOUR conversations. If you are involved in a conversation that doesn’t pass the test… change the subject.
The other bonus to this little trick is… more listening. Because you will be doing less talking, you will naturally experience more listening and listening has its own rewards.
Listening helps you discover things. Things like depth of character, beauty and integrity in people by allowing them to talk. If you are talking…. you are not listening. This exercise is hard but will create a true atmosphere of growth and understanding.
I believe in order to grow, we must do so with intent. We need to take a deep breath and decide to change. One of my favorite quotes is;
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I have found that speaking nicely, even when I am not spoken to nicely, is very powerful. I don’t have to worry about un-doing the damage of words, if I don’t speak them.
Words… are…. so… powerful. Choose to use that power for good.
AND… the next time I hear my words come out of my daughters mouth I want them to be filled with joy… I want them to be wise… I want them to be thoughtful… I want them to enlighten and brighten the world around them.
Have an amazing day!