Sadly, we have all been called names before. But have you ever taken the time to consider that labeling can also be considered name calling?
Think about it. Whenever someone calls you a name, do you start to wonder if you really are like that in some small way? Or maybe you notice yourself starting to act more like a name you were called. It’s true in my case anyway. I always wonder if there is some truth to the the bad things that were said about me.
But you would never call your children names, right? But I ask…. Could you be inadvertently be calling them names by labeling your children? I didn’t know it at the time, but I was doing that very thing. My oldest, was shy. My middle child, was a drama queen. And my youngest, was a cuddle bug. How could that hurt anyone? I was just being truthful. Right?
By labeling my oldest as shy instead of realizing that she is just different and prefers quiet time by herself to think deeply about things, I was missing out on an amazing side of my daughter! If I continued to call her shy, she may have started to believe the label, and never become the great one-on-one conversationalist that she is.
By labeling my middle child as a drama queen, she started to believe that was who she was, and how she was supposed to react to circumstances. That was EXTREMELY frustrating. And labeling my youngest as a cuddle bug, she believed she was to cuddle with everyone. Even strangers. That was scary!
I had to stop labeling my children. I did not like who they were becoming, and my labeling was helping to form those negative behaviors in them.
As I was writing this, a verse about our words and bones came to mind. I searched the internet for “Bible words rotten bones” and could not come up with the verse I was looking for. It was then I remembered that the words brought health to the bones, so I changed my search to “Bible words health bones” and there it was:
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
-Proverbs 16:24 ESV
I was amazed that by changing one little word – from the negative to the positive, I was able to find exactly what I was looking for!
Look at that verse again. A new friend recently point this out to me: by speaking gracious words to your children, you are bringing HEALTH to their body!!
The Bible has many verses on our speech, and several of those talk about how they can build up or tear down. I try to think about those things when I am talking to, or even about, my children.
After realizing I needed to stop labeling my children, I started calling them beautiful things: sweetheart, sweetie, precious, gentle one. And the more I called them THOSE names, the more they became precious and sweet. Not just in my eyes, but in their behavior.
I am not perfect. But I notice that when I am trying to be more conscious of the words I am using, God blesses me and helps me to use the words I need to use to help build up my children and bring health to their body.