They'll never remember...

The worst piece of parenting advice that I have ever received...

"Don't worry about what you say when they are little, they won't remember it anyway."

In the moment, this advice was 'good.' It put a young mother's feelings of guilt and sorrow over a thoughtless utterance at ease. It made me feel better. However, as I have journeyed farther down the road of motherhood - this piece of advice has come to be just horrifying.

In our sin (anger, grumbling, ugly words, sarcasm), we should not be made to feel better - we should feel convicted - and that conviction should lead to repentance. Excusing it away with "They won't remember..." not only in some way excuses the behavior, but it gives one permission to treat their child as a lesser being, because they are in a season of life that they are unlikely to recall.

Here's the thing. They WILL remember. They might not remember the specifics of the situation or the words. But their little heart will remember the hurt. Their little brain that is forming all these connections over time will remember that at one point, you unjustifiably hurt them...that they cannot trust you. It will be there. A wound. A lifelong wound. If you want to argue that kids don't know what is and is not justifiable, well - I think kiddos' have one of the most keen senses of justice around. They know when they've done wrong. They know when they've been wronged.

You know what else?

YOU will remember.

You will remember every thoughtless and unkind word that you mumble over your baby. It will haunt you. What's worse? Your tongue remembers. It's a muscle. You don't think it can form muscle memory? Every nasty thing, biting tone - it comes easier the next time and the next time and the next time. Practice makes "perfect," you know?

So, SPEAK gently over your children. Let your words be love over your husband. LOVE, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control...(highly needed by moms everywhere).

Form a new habit and shed the old ones. Make new muscle memories: smiles, laughs, praises, worships.

Happy New Year.

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