By Taylor Smith
Growing up there was this popular phrase that got under my skin, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!” Has anyone else been told that? I just wanna meet the person who came up with that and ask them if it ever worked for them! I can remember being a kid and wondering why that phrase just wasn’t true because the reality is words do hurt. Words can impact us for the rest of our lives. In fact, I guarantee everyone remembers something someone said to them that has shaped or significantly impacted them whether for the good or bad. As humans, one of our greatest downfalls is not realizing the power our words have over others, especially our children.
There are areas of motherhood that I am always working on to improve because no one is perfect, right? But one area that I am confident in, one thing I know I am doing right, is constantly speaking identity into my kids. Speaking good things about them and over them. We live in a world that tries to label them and tell them who they are or who the world wants them to be all the time. If we as parents don’t counteract the false identities trying to be placed on our kids, then our kids will become someone they were never meant to be. Motherhood is definitely not easy, but telling our kids who God says they are is one of the easiest and most impactful things we can do. One of the best ways we can connect our kids with their Creator is to teach them who they were created to be.
Every day, tell them who they are! I tell my kids all day, every day, who they are, and I also ask them who they are. When my oldest was one, I heard my mentor ask her kids who they were and I loved the whole spiel they would say. Needless to stay it stuck and so every morning I will ask “Who are you? And every morning I hear, “I am Aniston Kendall-Marie Smith. Girl of God, world changer, princess, warrior.” “I am Rowen Addilyn-Jane Smith. Girl of God, world changer, princess, warrior.” Our son is too little to say it, so we speak it over him, “You are Carson Joseph Smith. Boy of God, world changer, prince, warrior.” They don’t go anywhere without telling my husband and me who they are.
On top of this, we tell our kids they are “All the good things and more!” We have them name some of the good things they are, (kind, smart, brave, beautiful, strong, chosen, anointed, funny, talented) and then we say, “What if someone says different? What if they say you are not those things?” Our oldest always replies, “I won’t believe it because all of those things are who God says I am and who He made me to be.” If I have ever done or will do anything right as a mom, this is it. My kids are confident and secure in who God made them to be.
When they mess up, because they will, speak to their identity and not their mistakes. When they’ve done something foolish, they need to be reminded of who they are. Nine times out of ten they made a bad choice because they forgot who they were to begin with. Call out the good in them!
Now on the flip side, this doesn’t mean ignore the bad choices and mistakes. The Bible says to speak with love AND truth. So yes, love them and remind them of who they are, but acknowledge the sin that occurred and help them to get back in right standing with the Father and anyone else involved. Can you imagine what it would be like to be identified by your mistakes? If your kids begin to believe they are their bad choices, then the chances of them walking in what God has for them is less and less. They are not their mistakes; they are who God says they are.
Your words will cause your child to rise up or to stay down. We as moms have to use words of elevation, not condemnation.We have to help them rise above the mistakes they make and press past the noise trying to make them someone they're not. We have the honor of shaping our kids and their lives with our words. They will remember forever what we said to them and about them. I want my kids to remember that their momma fought for their identity and spoke life into them every day.
When I lay my head on my pillow every night, I am hopeful that I have done what God has asked of me as a parent, by reminding HIS children every day who He made them to be. My kids will never know the minor annoyance and lie of that old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Because at the end of the day, the world might shout words that sting, but they won’t stick! Why? Because they know who they are who HE says they are!
Taylor is the momma to three beautiful kids, Aniston, Rowen, and Carson. Together she and her husband, Brett, are the youth pastors at Grace Church in Oceanside, CA. Taylor also serves as the worship director. Last year they started a discipleship program for students who want to go into ministry or leadership after high school. Taylor is passionate about teaching, preaching, and raising up young leaders. She loves sweet tea, french fries, candles, and all things sparkly. Check her out on Instagramand Facebook!