Faith, Parenting

Learning lessons

At first glance this looks like a father and son moment; a lesson in handling a saw and managing a garden. The truth is it is a lesson in handling consequences and managing poor decisions.

Look closer at the picture, do you see the tree on the right? It has a huge branch torn off the trunk because my son swung on it and it ripped the tree.

That wasn’t just a tree, and the damage isn’t just a broken branch. That was my favourite tree, adorned with lanterns and bird feeders. It was special to me because it helped me manage my discontent in living in the city, it brought me such joy to seeing the wild birds hopping around in its branches and it provided shelter as we played in the garden

As a new homeschooler I am trying so hard to cultivate an environment of love and joy both in my garden and in my home, but I rarely seem to succeed of late. We have strong willed children who challenge us often and at the end of the a tough week this broken branch spoke of my broken my heart.

I knew parenting wouldn’t be easier but I never dreamed it would be so hard. I didn’t know how much it could hurt when your flesh and blood acts out. I want to fight for my children, not against them. I often wish I could ‘fix’ them, but perhaps this has more to do with my own iniquities rather than theirs.

I am not just a mom, I am a daughter of the King. And when I feel like I can’t, He can.

God created me to be a mama and He gave me these children to raise. I am going to need to learn some lessons of my own in raising my wildlings.

So today as I gather the remains of my beloved boughs, I gather my thoughts and give them to God. Time to go back to the Source to find our Selah. 

R x

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Parenting

Just a mom?

You are more than just a mom. Those words actually make me wince.

Today is International Women’s Day and social media is all lit up with phrases like ‘you are more than just a mom, you are a woman, you can rule the world’. Hashtags like #girlboss #bossbabe #girlpower and #thisgirlcan constantly remind us that we can have our cake and eat it, that our identities are not found in the mouths we feed or in the nappies we change, but are found in the very core of our being, in our passions, gifts and talents.

As the next generation of powerful women, we are called to use our passions and become entrepreneurs, CEO’s, politicians and public speakers. We are women, hear us roar, and we are destined for greatness.

But what if you are destined to be a mother?

But what if you are destined to be a mother? What if, since you were a little girl, all you have dreamed of is holding your very own baby in your arms and raising a family?

What if you just wanted to be a mom?

I am a big advocate for women achieving all they can be and more, and I don’t want to offend anyone who thinks I don’t approve of their life choices. Your personal path in life is exactly that; personal. I love that women can run FTSE100 companies and manage to run a household at the same time. I love that women can hustle with the best of them in the board room then come home to read bedtime stories. I love that women can lead our country, do all these things and more, providing that they are happy and fulfilled while doing them.

As for me? I have always just wanted to be a mother. Sure I have talents; I am a voracious reader and as you might have guessed an avid blogger to boot. I love networking, communicating and being creative. I am passionate about writing, in pretty much any form, from web content for a client, to worship songs on my piano. But I don’t see myself as a writer who is also a mom, I see myself as a mom who is also a writer.

I don’t see myself as a writer who is also a mom,
I see myself as a mom who is also a writer.

Rightly or wrongly, motherhood is an identity that I truly identify with. I see it as less of a label and more of a mantle bestowed upon me by God Himself. Yes, there are days when I might gladly trade my beautiful children for wild animals, in the hope that the animals will be easier to control, but by and large, motherhood is, in my humble opinion, the greatest role I will ever have. And if you don’t agree with my thinking, then guess what? That is ok too!

Alongside my husband, I am responsible for shaping three little lives. I am responsible for keeping them safe while teaching them how to eat, drink, speak, dress and navigate this dark world in which we live. As a mother, my role is to ultimately prepare my children for life without me, and I don’t want this responsibility to fall on anyone else’s shoulders but mine.

I am so incredibly grateful for my self-employed businesses, which means I get the best of both worlds; the freedom to raise my family and the finances to help support our home lives. I love my work and I don’t take it for granted. But I do want to acknowledge the stay at home mom’s who have chosen to commit to the most incredible, selfless and, at times thankless, job of raising their family full time.

On International Women’s Day 2019, whether you are high flying career mom or homeschooling hippie mom, (or both!) please remember this:

You are not just a mom, you are a manager of a human being.

And that, my friend, is pretty awesome.

R

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Faith

Finding my way

January 2018 is here and I for one couldn’t be happier to see the back of 2017.

As years go, we have had worse; previous years have seen us navigate redundancies and relocations, while witnessing health and marriage difficulties in our nearest and dearest. In fact, on paper, 2017 saw the realisation of many of my dreams, from preaching God’s word and leading worship to becoming a mama for the third time.

So why so negative about the last 12 months?

Because I lost my way.

As a self confessed control freak and obsessive planner, I like to have everything set out before me. I like to organise and plan every detail of my life, and submit my requests to God expecting Him to simply rubber stamp my suggestions.

My path was laid out before me, I thought I had it all figured out.

At the start of 2017 I was brimming with excitement. My head was full of ideas and plans, my heart was bursting with love for my new family, and my faith seemed stronger than ever. I relied upon God for every piece of the puzzle and rejoiced as I watched them slot into place. I was on my way.

Then it happened.

The Enemy crept in, so stealthily that I didn’t even see it coming. As my arms were filled with joy, my mind was filled with lies. Like a thief in the night, the Devil stole my joy and replaced it with doubt and fear. He made me doubt that I was on the right path, he made me doubt that I ever heard God, he made me doubt my purpose.

As the doubt grew, so too did the darkness that fell over my soul. As uncertainty tightened its grip on my heart, my hand loosened its grip from my Heavenly Father. I suddenly found myself drifting from His path, doubting my purpose and feeling totally afraid.

Oh the Devil loves fear. It’s the very life force for him; he preys on our panic with pure glee.

But God.

Even on my darkest days, my God never left me

Even when my doubt threatened to overwhelm me, my God upheld me.

Even when I lost my way, my God pursued me.

Then when I couldn’t take any more, He took it away.

Oh I have come to rely on God in a more personal way than ever before in the last year. I have literally fallen to my knees, shouting, screaming, sobbing. I have laid things down and I have lifted things up.

And He has given me beauty for ashes.

The Enemy thought he had won the battle, but my Jesus has won the war

I may have been blindsided, I may have been broken, but God works everything together for the good of those who love Him. I may have lost my way, but God never lost sight of me. Like a loving parent who stands back while their child wanders off, God was always watching, always waiting for me to turn and look at Him.

And when I did, He came running.

Jesus gave everything – literally – so that I could have a relationship with Father God. I am starting 2018 hand in hand with Jesus with renewed hope and a reliant heart. He has saved me and strengthened me.

Jesus replaced my doubt with destiny, my fear with faith

Together we are on a journey and He is showing me that He knows the way, I just need to follow Him.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.

Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

If you don’t know Jesus, can I suggest that you start 2018 by following Him too.

R x

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Parenting

Why new moms need new expectations

Expectation. What a word. To some it can bring excitement, to others it can bring exhaustion. To one, it can bring fun and to another, it can bring fear. We all have expectation in our lives, whether that is how we expect our day to pan out, or how we expect our careers to pan out, whether we expect to build a FTSE100 empire before we are 30 or build a family home.

I love having a goal, a dream, an expectation. My expectation was to get married and be a mom before I was 30. I happily achieved said expectation, but did the reality live up to the dream? Not quite. Rest assured that I am happily married and couldn’t be more grateful for the blessings that have been bestowed on me in the form of my three little ones. But that doesn’t make my long-awaited expectation of the motherhood experience any less challenging.

My first son was born (relatively) easily in a peaceful water birth, but he soon made his presence known by keeping his poor unsuspecting parents awake all hours for the first three months. I expected to cherish these first few weeks of his little life as I blissfully washed his bamboo nappies (yes, really), however, these were some of the hardest and saddest weeks as we desperately tried to fathom out our new family member and survive on next to no sleep. I vividly remember one night, around 2am, when Dave and I were literally on. our. knees. and I placed our son in the middle of the bed and stepped back, not knowing what the heck to do next. In our sleep deprived state, we had tried everything, except swaddling, and this turned out to be the saving grace for our sanity, as we turned a corner and saw our firstborn sleep for more than 2 consecutive hours.

Then came the second son. Another much loved, much planned for baby, albeit with a much larger gap than I would have liked. Surgery necessitated the long wait, and my health was more important than expanding our family, but when he came oh what joy I awaited.

Only the joy didn’t come.

Don’t get me wrong, I was head over heels in love with this little one who snuggled up to me so calmly, but my heart raced as I contemplated juggling two children. I expected to breeze into motherhood second time round, but as reality set in, my fears became nerves that grew into anxieties. I soon felt so overwhelmed that I just couldn’t face being a parent to anyone, much less the precious boys I have been blessed with. All this, despite a hands-on, supportive hubby and a fantastic network of family and friends.

After five months of juggling schedules and struggling to keep my head above water, I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression. The diagnosis came as no surprise in the end, and if anything, it was such a relief to know that I wasn’t losing the plot and that I wasn’t a bad mother. I was not alone. Accepting the diagnosis was no problem. If anything, I almost wore it as a badge of honour to explain that actually, I wasn’t failing, I was a work in progress, and within 6 months I was back to my normal self.

PND is no discriminator of people or circumstance. My baby was wanted, planned for, prayed for. Yet when he came, I was so overwhelmed with the responsibility; the sudden influx of hormones, the sudden immersion into baby world, and the sudden subjection to his every need. I was an experienced parent, who knew what to expect, and my son was a relaxed little man, yet I was so completely overcome with emotion and anxiety that I could barely think straight. I thank God for the medical professionals who helped me through this difficult time, not to mention my faithful husband and my many friends who had journeyed this path before me or with me.

So onto baby number 3. She was no less planned for, prayed for, and prepared for than her brothers, if not she was more so. The nursery was decorated, the work schedules were created, the books were read and the home was ready, yet when she came I felt the old anxieties creep into my mind as my expectation stood at odds with my reality. There I was, with this sweet little one who fell into our arms with a smile and fell into a routine without batting an eye lid, yet I found myself feeling totally overwhelmed by the now enormous task in front of me. How was I ever going to juggle three children along with a writing career, keeping my home (and me) in a half reasonable style and state of cleanliness, oh and build a blog and write a book….. and manage more than 5 hours sleep in the process.

To raise another is the greatest privilege. As a mom of three, I can safely say this is the greatest, most rewarding role I have ever had, however, coupled with my expectations, it has caused the most pain, upset, anxiety, and, at times, even depression. A classic ‘achiever’, my character is such that I want to do everything to the best of my ability. This means holding it all together, at all times, having the tidy house, the contented babies, and the completed deadlines. My ambitious striving, of course, can be a strength, but for those, like me, who place too great an expectation on themselves, it can be a curse.

When it comes to motherhood, the thing I have craved, dreamed of and desired, I expect to succeed, I expect to flourish. I expect to sail through because I am a ‘do-er’, and ‘achiever’. I constantly measure myself against impossible standards, then wonder why I fall short. The advice I dish out to others I can barely swallow myself. The prayers I pray for friends are barely audible for myself.

Why? Because I expect too much of myself.

It is OK for a friend to fall apart, but I cannot. It is OK for a family member to need counselling but not me. It’s OK for a loved one to ask for help but I must march on. How ridiculous.

I recently read this quote from the inimitable William Shakespeare;

Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises or in modern day language; Expectation is the root of all heartache. 

I put too much expectation on myself, and the resulting wave of heartache that accompanies feelings of disappointment when I don’t ‘make the grade’ hurts like heck.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to succeed, with wanting to achieve, with having a dream. New mom’s do not need to cast off all their ambitions and put their lives on hold in order to raise their baby, but friends, we need to stop putting too great expectations of ourselves. Stop trying to have the Pinterest worthy house, the picture perfect family, the insta-flawless selfie. We need to embrace our flaws, our failings, and our frustrations because this is what makes us human. And I am speaking to myself before anyone else.

So next time I feel overwhelmed, fall down or mess up, rather than just painting on my face and marching on I might just let someone in. If someone texts to check in on me or taps me on the shoulder at the school gates, I might just let them know how I am really doing. I might just say, “Do you know what? Motherhood is a gift, but man is it hard work!” I might just accept the offer of a hug, a prayer, a cuppa or a meal.

Fellow parents, let’s stop being proud and start being real, and today, this starts with me.

Just sayin’.

R xx

 

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Faith, Parenting

To moms who need their moms

I just read a beautiful instagram post where a new mom honoured her own mother. Her simple statement read; “when Mom arrives and everything’s OK again”, and the deep vulnerability in this heart offering brought tears to my eyes.

Being a mother is such a magnificent, messy miracle. As a mom, I get to hold my babies every day, to kiss their sweet faces, to breathe in their scent, to ruffle their hair, to throw them into the air and hear the fits of gleeful giggles. I get to pour love out on to them, I get to build them up and tell them they can do anything, they can reach the very stars in the sky if they want to, and I will be the first one with a step-ladder to help them do it. As a mother, I get to hold their hands and guide them as they walk, to catch them if they fall and to carry them when they are tired. I get to kiss them and make them feel better if their teeth are poking through, or knees are grazed, or their temperature is raised.

Mother’s have an ability to make things OK. To reassure that you are safe, that you are loved. That you are doing great, that you have got this and they have got you. And even if you fail;  if the grades weren’t good enough, you stumbled at the last hurdle, you didn’t make the cut or one of the plates you’d been spinning came crashing down, your mother will scoop you up and soothe you.

But what if your mother can’t be there?

I understand that not everyone is blessed with a mother close by, either geographically or emotionally, whether separated by words or worlds.  understand that no matter how old you are, or how far you have fallen or how you are hurting, everyone needs their mom, that unequalled individual who loves you so fiercely and so unconditionally, that person you can turn to, day or night, about anything and everything. My heart grows heavy as I think of

I understand that no matter how old you are, or how far you have fallen or how you are hurting, everyone needs their ‘mother figure’, that unequalled individual who loves you so fiercely and so unconditionally, that person you can turn to, day or night, about anything and everything. My heart grows heavy as I think of

My heart grows heavy as I think of moms who may be all alone, either single or without a mother or mother figure in her world. I wonder how on earth she could navigate the precarious path of motherhood without the guidance of a mother who has already dodged or overcome the pitfalls she is now facing. How would she be strong for her children with no one to comfort her, how would she know which way to turn without her own mother to lead her?

Then I remembered what God has said to me.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart;
    He gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

He gently leads those that have young. The words sprang off the page and wrapped themselves right around me like a warm hug.

Dear friend, being a mom is the most precious gift, one that you will cherish for the rest of your days. One that will transform your world in every which way, one where you have to find your ‘new normal’ and learn to embrace it. There will be times when your little one doesn’t sleep, when you don’t know why they are crying, when you find yourself fighting back guilty tears as you dream about your old life. There will be days when you feel like a hero and days when you feel hopeless. There will be moments when you lock yourself in the bathroom because you just. need. five. minutes. alone.

You may find yourself in these moments wishing that your mom was here with you, and for whatever reason, she may not be able to.

But in every moment, good, bad or ugly, there is always Jesus.

When you feel overwhelmed or alone He will comfort you. When you fall, God Himself will come down and scoop you up into His arms and soothe you. When you don’t know which way is right the Holy Spirit will lead you.

If you are a mom who needs her momma, please remember that Papa God is here.

He always has been and He always will be, watching and waiting for His daughter to seek His face and rest in His embrace.

R xx

 

Feature Image Photo Credit: sundaywomen.com 
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Parenting

To the mom at the nursery gates

“It does get easier I promise”.

The words I gently spoke to a mom at nursery this morning as her son buried his head into her shoulder, crying before we even got through the front door. Her own lip wobbling, and tears filling her eyes, she tried to smile and spoke in a soothing, singing voice to reassure her toddler that he was doing so well and everything would be OK. She was dressed for work, and this was only his second week in to childcare, and the novelty of new toys and new faces had clearly worn off as he cling to her side. He didn’t want new toys or new friends today, he just wanted his momma.

My heart broke for them both. I wanted to tell her to quit the job, to scoop up her baby and take him home. I wanted to tell her that he needed her more than her manager did, more than her clients did. I wanted to tell her that she needn’t miss out on a single second of his precious little life for the sake of a few pounds in the bank.

But of course, that is ridiculous.

Some mothers work. Some mothers have no choice but to work, some are single moms who are fighting to keep the bills paid and food on the table. Some are high flying business women who have overcome incredible odds to establish their enterprise and they need to keep their business going. Some are climbing the career ladder now while they are young so they can provide for their children’s future. Some just flat out need a break from motherhood, and being an employee for several hours a day allows them to have the mental stimulation and adult company that they have craved during the last 12 months of maternity leave.

There is no right or wrong here, and far be it from me to judge any mother, whether she works full time in the office or works as a full time mom. In my humble opinion both roles are equally challenging and equally rewarding. But I do want to reach out to all the moms out there this week who have had to leave their crying babies at nursery or preschool, for all the moms who tried to hold back her tears until she got back in the car, for all the moms who are clock watching until it is pick up time.

I want to tell you that you are a good mom.

You are doing your level best for your babies, and sometimes that means walking them through difficult but necessary separation as they grow. Tears will cease and smiles will take their place, and you will both get through this tricky transition time unscathed.

Take a deep breath, take one day at a time, take the pressure off, and know that this too will pass.

He gently leads the mothers with their young ~ Isaiah 40:11

R

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Faith, Parenting

The letter I wish I had read as a new mom

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Dear beautiful,

Congratulations! You have joined the prestigious, bleary eyed, milk stained, caffeine fuelled club that is motherhood.

Firstly I want to tell you to enjoy these precious few moments as a brand new family.

Ignore the phone, wave off visitors and bed down with your baby. Cherish each gurgle, each smile, each milestone. Hold your baby. Yes, I mean ignore the do-gooders who advise you not to carry them too much in case you spoil them, there is such a thing as the fourth trimester and baby-wearing has proven benefits for both mother and baby in these first few weeks. You don’t see 14 year olds being carried by their moms. This phase will pass as your child grows too big for you to carry so jolly well make the most of it now.

Your role as a mother will not define who you are.

This is an important statement for you to hold on to when you are knee deep in nappies and can’t remember the last time you looked in a mirror, much less brushed your hair. You are more than a cook and bottle washer, more than a cleaner and laundry attendant. You are an independent woman who is strong, confident, accomplished and gifted, no matter how you may doubt and question yourself. Can I really do this? Can I ever be good enough? Am I qualified? The answer to all these questions in God is yes. If He has called you to it He will bring you through it.

Rather than breaking new ground in ministry, just getting dressed and brushing your teeth is your greatest mission right now and that is OK. Your girlfriends are your world and social media helps you stay connected to fellow moms who are going through the same stages as you. These wonderful women that you have so much in common with will be the lifeline you need to sustain you through sleepless nights and tantrum-filled days so invest in your relationships even if only through midnight whatsapp messages and mid feed tweets.

Make your motions effect your emotions.

There will be days when you want to flop in a heap and sob uncontrollably after six days straight of sleep deprivation, and this is ok, but remember this too shall pass. Allow the hormonal (and non hormonal) emotions to wash over you but don’t wade in the waters of self pity. Ride that tidal wave like a boss and get yourself to the shore asap with positive attitudes and a lot of prayer. Also don’t take things to heart when your worries or opinions are not received the way you would like. You have a tendency to wear your heart on your sleeve a little too much so why not protect it and keep some things just between you and God. He knows your heart, He knows your desire to be loved, accepted and to belong which is why He sought you out to become a daughter of the King, part of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is also the reason He gave you a great marriage, a husband who knows you intimately and loves every part of you. A strong man who will uphold you and strengthen you in every area, a man who has got your back. Open your heart to him and to God first.

In the years to come you will face trials and tribulations but you will never be alone. God is with you, He is for you and He has gone ahead of you. You will overcome redundancies, health scares and depression. You will rise above doubts and dilemmas, bad decisions and bad behaviour. You will learn the difference between being a friend and being faithful and your personal faith will reach levels you never dreamed of.

Take courage and stand tall, the future is bright, you just need to believe it and grab it with both hands.

R

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Faith, Parenting

Put your hands up

“Mommmmyyyyyyyy!!!!” came the urgent cries from my two year old today, whilst I was washing up the dishes. I dried my hands and hurried to the kitchen door to see what mischief he has gotten himself into and I was greeted by the sorry sight of a very tangled up little boy. We have a small goal post in our garden, that is more often than not used as a net to catch monsters or to hang toys off of rather than to field incoming goals. My youngest had been playing with his ‘arrow’ (tin opener… go figure) and had somehow managed to get his hi-top clad feet hopelessly entangled in the goal net and was now stood in the middle of the garden with tears of frustration streaming down his cheeks.

Goal

I ran over to him to assess the crystal maze-esque task of getting him out of the goal as he pulled at the ropes wound tightly around his legs. “Its OK baby” I soothed, “put your hands up and Mommy will pull you out”. Keen to escape the confines of the goal post, my son immediately put his hands in the air and reached out to me as I pulled him up, clear of the net without a struggle.

As I pulled my son close, God whispered into my spirit “If only you put your hands up to me so quickly. Daughter, I love you and always want to help you, I can see when you are struggling and if only you would reach out to me I would pull you out of every situation that you find yourself in.”

My heart quickened as I recalled the many times where I have inadvertently gotten myself in to a tangle, and rather than calling out to God and reaching up to Him to pull me out I have picked at the knots and strings entwined around my life getting more and more tangled and increasingly frustrated.

When my son was in his tangled moment, I had the vantage point of being above him, I could clearly see where the strings were wrapped and how to move him so that he would be freed. God has the ultimate vantage point in heaven, He knows all things and sees all things, and He can see the things that bind you right now. He can see the situation you are in that you think is impossible to leave. He sees the financial burdens that keep you locked in to place, unable to move forward. He sees the physical limitations that sickness and chronic conditions have over you.

But He wants to set you free.

He wants you to move freely, unbound, unshackled, moving forward into all that He has planned for you.

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb” Jeremiah 1:5

If only you would put your hands up. Put your hands up to the one who formed you in your mother’s womb. The one who created you and ordained every single day of your life even before time began, the one who loves you so much that He sent His son Jesus to die for you. If only you would realise that by putting your hands up to the loving Father, He will take your hands and pull you up and out of your situation. Just as we love, nurture, protect and rescue our children so too does our heavenly Father, but we must be willing to surrender, to reach up to God for His love, His help and His protection in our situation.

Friend, please don’t give in to fear, shame, guilt, debt, sickness, relationship breakdown, abuse or addiction. Instead give it up to God today.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11

R

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Faith, Parenting

They are what you speak

I am so tired of hearing the phrase ‘He is a bad boy’ or ‘She is naughty girl’ bandied around the playground or toddler group.

Now, as a mother of particularly boisterous boys, who have been more than a little challenging at times, I am only too aware that sometimes our children do misbehave. But I have learnt (the hard way) that confirming negative behaviour to a child will only entrench the behaviour even deeper, as they start to believe what they are told about themselves. These fleeting comments, these seemingly harmless words fly through the atmosphere like arrows, piercing the open, soft hearts of impressionable small people who are looking to us to see how to handle situations, how to speak over people and, heartbreakingly, what to believe about themselves.

Children are NOT bad. They are NOT naughty.

Despite the cutting remarks or physical aggression, their behaviour is not malicious and is not a personal attack on you or others around you. Children are tiny human beings who are learning what is right and wrong and are pushing the boundaries socially and physically to discover what is OK, what is acceptable. And yes, at times they will make the wrong choice. They will choose to snatch that toy, to push that child, to hit that parent or answer back in the middle of the playground. These choices and the resulting behaviour exhibited is naughty, not the child, and I would encourage any parent, guardian or carer, myself included, to isolate the behaviour and condemn this not the child in question.

Furthermore friends, if it is not your child exhibiting the behaviour, please stop before you judge them or pass comment; that little boy lashing out may be struggling with separation from a father who left his mother six weeks ago, that little girl may have a poorly sibling who is requiring all mom and dad’s attention so she is acting out to get noticed by someone.

Our words have more power than we could ever realise. The Bible tells us that our words have the power to destroy and the power to save lives (Proverbs 12:6) and for anyone who has ever been criticised, put down or gossiped about, you will know that words can wound deeper than any sword. When someone casts a careless comment to a child, saying ‘You are a naughty girl’, ‘Why do you do that? What’s wrong with you?’ or ‘He is a nasty piece of work’, they are speaking into their little, impressionable minds, into their soft vulnerable hearts and dealing them the most hurtful blow that can stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Having done The Five Love Languages, I am aware that my top love language is words of affirmation, so for me, words have a lasting effect that can have immeasurable repercussions on my emotional and mental well being. I remember harsh words spoken about me or to me from a very young age as if it were yesterday, and the comments still cause me to question my image, my ability or my talent some twenty five years later.

God spoke the world into being with his words and as we are made in His image, we are responsible for the words we speak out into and over others. Jesus himself said; “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” Matthew 12:36-37

If you have guardianship or relationship with a child of any age, please, I urge you, be careful what you say to them, in front of them or around them. Children are like sponges that soak up all that flows in and around them, whether that is good or bad, positive or negative. Don’t fill their heads with your own judgements, doubts, fears or frustrations. Make sure the words you speak into them are full of praise, encouragement and gentle love-filled discipline that will build your child into a strong, secure man or woman in the future.

And perhaps most importantly, if you do speak harshly (which we all do) don’t forget to say you are sorry. The simplest way to undo an injustice on either side of the fence is the humble apology which has the power to right the wrongs and set you both free from a vicious cycle of word flinging. Modelling to your charges how you want them to conduct and handle their behaviour – good and bad – will set them up with a solid foundation on which to build positive, loving lives.

R x

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