There’s just something so sweet about how little ones talk when they’re learning a language. Their tone, inflections and pronunciations tickle me.
When my two kids were still in a crib, I often found myself videotaping their baby monitor. They’d wake up from sleeping and just sit in their crib talking to themselves for what seemed like hours at a time. I didn’t dare go in and disturb them (Parenting Rule #1 – Never bother a content child), but I just knew that those voices would eventually change. I never wanted to forget those sweet words like “Gella gella” (Cinderella…or in some cases, gorilla) or “Dadoo” (her word for ‘Softy’, her favorite sleeping toy).
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24
Just as those words can bring joy, as our children age, their sweet voices can turn into whining, nagging and a never-ending barrage of questions. Instead of taping them with a camcorder, you may find yourself hiding from them in the bathroom!
It seems that instead of trying to instill that same sweetness in our own speech to inspire them, we take cues from their behavior and allow our own words to become peppered with negativity, shame and guilt. I know I don’t respond will to these attributes, so why do I expect my kids to change their behavior when I berate them with my words?
I understand it can be difficult to remain calm, cook and collected throughout our entire parenting journey. But if you stop long enough to respond instead of react to your child, your words of affirmation will fill them up in a way nothing else you give them ever could.