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What You Say and How You Say It


If people winked in real life as much as they do in text messages, the world would be a creepy place.

I'm pretty sure we generally do this to keep things light in a rather heavy world.

Other times we simply don't know how to share the awkward stuff that's in us without packaging it in something more pleasant.

I remember as a kid when my mom would be in the middle of a rant and the phone would ring. She'd suddenly transform her voice from "she's-angry-with-the-world-because-I-left-unwrapped-hard-candy-under-my-bed" to "she's-somehow-now-become-an-understudy-for-Mary-Poppins." After that initial, melodic "Helllllllooooo," she'd then settle into a new voice based on who she was talking to.

I imagine that we've all done this during those "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH" moments in our homes when something really does need to be said to our family...only right then someone shows up at the door just as we're getting rolling on our rant.  We shift gears immediately, putting on a different self.

This is also a practice we take part in all the time on social media when who we present ourselves to be online only reflects what we're allowing the world to see of us.

Our "voices" - be it literally or virtually - are partial presentations of who we are. It's where our real selves and ideal selves collide, and how we're actually feeling conflicts with how we want the world to perceive us.

Can I offer you some alternative perspective here? God has a message for you.

If you look throughout the Bible, I think you'd agree this message would sound something like this:

"You're MY kid. I see you...all of you. I know life is hard and there are things you'd rather hide. Remember, you're valuable because you're mine. Turn away from anything rebellious or reactionary inside of you and turn toward me. You don't need to impress the world with your life. Instead, let me instead impress my life into yours."

Seriously, take that in. Let it shape how you view yourself so that you can shape how your kids view you.

We all know as parents that our voices carry weight in the lives of our kids.  There's also the matter of how we say what we say.

"Tone" is powerful, for in the mind of a listener it adds or subtracts words to what we're saying out loud.

For example, you might simply say, "Pick that up" to your kid. If you say this with a sharp tone, what they hear you say is, "Pick that up, you idiot." Try it with a playful tone, and what they hear is, "I drop stuff all the time, too. Go ahead and pick that up."

Taking the time to invite God's voice to speak to you on a daily basis resets your perspective and tone. He helps you face the many things that would otherwise try to overtake you, such as your desire for life to be (or appear to be) a certain way. Instead of letting competition, achievement, and status drive you to treat others around you out of all that angst, you're better approaching your family as someone who is rooted.

It helps you to be authentic.

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