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Sunday, September 7, 2008

“The stroke of the whip maketh marks in the flesh: but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones.”--from the Apocrypha

From the May 2007 Ensign:

The Tongue of Angels
Elder Jeffrey R. HollandOf the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles


"It is with this realization of the power and sanctity of words that I wish to caution us, if caution is needed, regarding how we speak to each other and how we speak of ourselves.

In that same spirit we speak to the sisters as well, for the sin of verbal abuse knows no gender. Wives, what of the unbridled tongue in your mouth, of the power for good or ill in your words? How is it that such a lovely voice which by divine nature is so angelic, so close to the veil, so instinctively gentle and inherently kind could ever in a turn be so shrill, so biting, so acrid and untamed? A woman’s words can be more piercing than any dagger ever forged, and they can drive the people they love to retreat beyond a barrier more distant than anyone in the beginning of that exchange could ever have imagined. Sisters, there is no place in that magnificent spirit of yours for acerbic or abrasive expression of any kind, including gossip or backbiting or catty remarks. Let it never be said of our home or our ward or our neighborhood that “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity … [burning] among our members.”

May I expand this counsel to make it a full family matter. We must be so careful in speaking to a child. What we say or don’t say, how we say it and when is so very, very important in shaping a child’s view of himself or herself. But it is even more important in shaping that child’s faith in us and their faith in God. Be constructive in your comments to a child—always. Never tell them, even in whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely. You would never do that maliciously, but they remember and may struggle for years trying to forget—and to forgive. And try not to compare your children, even if you think you are skillful at it. You may say most positively that “Susan is pretty and Sandra is bright,” but all Susan will remember is that she isn’t bright and Sandra that she isn’t pretty. Praise each child individually for what that child is, and help him or her escape our culture’s obsession with comparing, competing, and never feeling we are “enough.”


---I love this entire article. If you get a chance, go read it. It's such a good reminder. I didn't post the counsel to men, but it is there, lest you think the women are being picked on.

I just feel like I need to be reminded frequently of this. I am so harsh to my children sometimes, and it breaks my heart when I think about how I must sound to them. I love them so much, and they are such precious gifts. We have been entrusted with their care, and I take that for granted a little too frequently.
My prayer this week, is that I might be a little more mindful of the words I speak, and the manner in which I speak them.

8 comments:

tammy said...

Thanks for this reminder. Sometimes I'm too harsh also when getting after my kids, and it's worse when I'm tired. And sometimes I have no patience when my oldest seems to have lost his brain and not thinking off the consequences of his actions.

Dolly said...

Excellent message on this Fast Sunday-thanks for sharing this :)

Richelle said...

That's a good reminder. Thanks.

jamieBEE said...

Oh BOY - i sure did need this one tonight!!!! I read this a few minutes too late....good thing we get to keep trying and trying and learning and trying and remembering some more!

michelle said...

I think we need to remember too that we all have moments when we become "that Mom". The one I hate becoming! I am going to adopt your goal this week too1

MERRIANNE said...

i love this Article SOOOO MUCH Mikki! I think that if ALL parents did this, the world would such a better place!!!!!

I am so glad you posted this! It is wonderful!!!!

Rod and LaDawn said...

I loved this talk. When he spoke about how "A woman’s words can be more piercing than any dagger ever forged," my husband just looked at me and raised his eyebrows! I wanted to smack him, but considering the spirit of the talk, I didn't (he got lucky there!) Seriously, this was fantastic and such a powerful reminder of how harmful our words can be esp to those closest to us!
BTW...I finally got around to one of my tags!

Jenn said...

Just Wonderful Mikki. You're inspiring me for sure