We tend to underestimate the value of life-giving words. Like a smile, sharing life-giving words doesn’t cost us a thing, and yet we often withhold them from those we love most. I’ve talked with adults in the empty-nest stage of life who still ache to hear affirming, life-giving words from their parents. These are not prison inmates, drug addicts, or others who have little positive to say. In fact, some of them have received accolades from their own spouses, children, employers, or nonprofit organizations for which they volunteer. Still, they crave to hear words of affirmation from their parents. Oh, that more parents would realize the power of their words (Proverbs 25:7) and take the opportunities they have to breathe words of life to their children (Proverbs 3:27).
When our words of affirmation echo Scripture, we have a promise from God Himself: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). Too often, the words of God that we repeat to our children are limited to commands and admonitions. While such use of Scripture is certainly acceptable, neglecting nurturing words is problematic. After all, Ephesians 6:4 tells us we need to be doing both — in word and in deed. As we use God’s promises, blessings from Scripture, and positive descriptions that remind us of our children, we will be breathing life into their souls. In a world that tears them down for every mistake or faux pas, kids need parents who recognize their positive points.
If you’ve been accustomed to breathing only those words of admonition to your children, you may not be able to think of many positive passages off-hand. Just start thinking of all the encouraging Scripture passages and songs that use Scripture that have encouraged your own heart. The Psalms are replete with blessings like Psalm 20. Who wouldn’t want a note with Psalm 127:3 that tells them their parents consider them a great reward, and among the greatest gifts God has given them?! God’s Word contains myriad promises of God for those dealing with various trials as well as life-giving words for those who trust God, serve Him, seek Him, and obey Him. When our words echo God’s own positive and encouraging words, we’re mirroring His positive parenting toward us.
When parents offer only admonition and little to no nurture, it’s no wonder their children tend to be negative and critical of them. With gracious words breathed into them, the natural result will be for them to breathe such life into those around them. Like the children mentioned in Proverbs 31, they will be more likely to communicate appreciation and encouragement to those around them.