Posts Tagged ‘language’

Humble Words

The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33

She was one of  those moms devoted to keeping her kids humble. She did not hesitate to correct us. If there was still dust when we “finished” dusting, she sent us back to do it again. Dirty dishes were given back to be re-washed. Dirt behind the ears and dirty fingernails might make you late for school because you were not walking out the door with them like that. She was tough but she was right.

She was also good at reminding us that there would always be things we were good at, or even better than some others. She was just as quick to tell us not to get too proud of that, because there would always be people who were better than us, too.

On a phone call when I was in my early teens she walked into the room just as I was using a word she had taught me not to use. There was no comment or discussion. She walked over to the phone and ended the call. She was really serious about our language. Your grammar was corrected and your words were taken seriously.

(Interestingly, humility has been built into our grammar. “Me and him went to the store.”  Besides being wrong grammatically, puts “me” first. The proper way to say this is, “He and I went to the store.”  The “I” in that sentence comes second because the other person is more important.)

She taught us, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” Think before you speak was the message. It was a lesson in self-control of the tongue. Unfortunately, I was a slow learner on this one.

Too many times as an adult, words have come out of my mouth that should have been held in. In God’s grace, the humiliation of those times has taught (and continues to teach) me to be more careful.

Social media sites of our day raise this “unrestrained words” issue to a whole new level. People seem less likely to curb their words when they are writing than they do when they are speaking face to face. The concept of remaining silent seems to be lost. Envy, anger, rudeness, tactless talk, and threats, all put out there publicly without a thought about the consequences.

Where are those Moms who want their children to learn humility and self-control?  Though not talked about in those terms, both were high priorities to teach your children in earlier times. Children were taught from a young age that there were expectations and it really did not matter what other people were doing or saying.

Socially and culturally those expectations have changed. Biblically, as parents called to raise children to love and fear the Lord, humility and self-control should be high priorities. If our children are on social media, we need to have regular conversations about the impact of our words on others.

And, parent or not, we need to be alert to what our own words are doing to others, online and in person.

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