Today I discovered yet another humbling aspect of children. Toddlers, specifically. They repeat EVERYTHING they hear that sounds "fun" to them. Fun to them apparently means anything said with emotion and emphasized. No!, Stop chasing the dog!, Don't wipe that on your sister!, I'm not your napkin!, Ewww! and so on. Also, toddlers are gross. Moving on. They struggle with sh, ch, st, ck, etc. type sounds as they just got their teeth and haven't quite figured out how they work in speech and where the tongue comes in. It's fun. Especially with words like stick...where the st becomes sh and the ck becomes t...and we all giggle under our breath trying not to make a big deal out of it and praying there are no sticks to be found at church...
They also repeat things you didn't realize were said and/or heard. Today was one such instance. I have a big dog (Pyrenees) who laments being apart from me from time to time (daily). If I put him in the field to play with his brother and mom he has fun for a bit then howls endlessly wanting to be reunited with his human family. Once he gets started all the others join in. It's kinda funny and kinda sad. I admit, I have a little less time for him than I did pre-kids, but I do try to make my time with him count. I miss my time with him, too. He has a very soothing, calming, nature to him. Anyway...He started up this morning with the others joining in. All of the sudden my 21 month old, golden curled, blue eyed blessing of a child (you know... as much as a two year old wannabe can be. HA!) said "SHUT UP!" Three times. I've been adamant about others not saying that around her, to her, to her sister, etc. knowing that wasn't how I wished to raise my girls. Hush would suffice. Nope. Apparently she heard it from someone. Who knows, in my sleep deprived state one morning it could have been me. It got me thinking. Hard.
How many things do you say out loud that you shouldn't? Even if no one is around to hear them...or you think no one is. It doesn't have to be cursing. It can just be something judgmental, some prejudice, anything negative, sarcastic (I do love my sarcasm...), apathetic, etc. Now, I don't believe we live in a world full of sunshine and rainbows, but I do wish to create a safe space at home for my girls, my husband and myself to come and semi-escape the anger, bitterness, negativity, etc. of the outside world for a while. I'm even trying to come up with a code word for when my girls are feeling down/attacked/weary from all things around them that they can say and it automatically shifts our gears into a different mindset to give them that peace for a moment. Be it a hug, prayer, some alone time, music, art, etc. Whatever it takes to bring us back to each other in a loving way. If it is an argument, misunderstanding, etc. we can come back to it after we've taken a "moment" so we can approach it in a rational, loving way. Do I think I will always be successful? No way, but with prayer, God's help, teaching them this from the start and knowing my husband has my back I think we'll have a pretty decent shot at it.
So be thinking about what comes out of your mouth and how you say it. There are always ears close enough to hear you and hearts that are being affected by your attitude. That's frighteningly sobering for me. How about you?