Just for Dads ~ November 2020
By Ward Williams
Twenty years ago, while serving as a youth pastor, I took our youth group on a mission trip to Juarez, Mexico. We worked hard and heard many important messages while on that trip, but one conversation with a pastor at a church has replayed in my mind since that day.
He told our group that by far the most important important activity we could do while in Mexico was pray and speak positive words of blessing aloud over the children in his church. When we asked why this was so important, Mario told us that words of blessing can give hope for a better future because they counter the negative words that the children hear constantly.
I know we as parent want to protect our kids, but what we may not always remember is the power of our words over the. Our words have the power to build up them up or tear them apart. This point was driven home when I was watching a documentary produced at UAB about youth violence in Birmingham. Researchers found that three-year-old children in a local housing project knew an average of eight hundred words, the majority of them with a negative connotation. In contrast, the average three-year-old in a two-parent household knew twelve hundred words and the majority of them were positive or neutral in connotation.
Words have a lifelong impact of the quality and direction of children’s lives. I believe some children are fully convinced they have zero to little chance to accomplish their dreams by the time they enter school. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Think about the idea of your words being seasoned with salt. Three of salt’s popular uses are to preserve, to thaw, and to give flavor. I think this is good guidance for our words. Do your words preserve relationships and restore wilting situations? Take the challenge to make of most each conversation, daily encourage those around you, and remember the power of your words.
Ward Williams is the founder and executive director of Vineyard Family Services. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.