When you think back on your youth, can you remember all of those little phrases that your mom said time and time again? “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” “If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” “Wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.” The words that my mom said to me have shaped the man that I have become and the words that you say to your child have the power to direct their future. Here are three leadership principles that my mom taught me and a few scripture passages that you can begin sharing with your children.
“Let your yes mean yes no means no.”
If my mom asked me to mow the lawn and I either skirted around the topic or gave an excuse she would always remind me of what Jesus said during His famous sermon. In Matthew 5:37 Jesus said, “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” I do not need to make a promise or give excuses, I simply need to give an honest answer and follow through.
“Only stupid people get bored.”
On rainy or long summer days when I began pestering my mom for something to do she would say, “Only stupid people get bored.” I knew this meant to stop being lazy and inactive and to go be productive. The Proverbs are full of warnings against sluggards and lazy people (20:4, 19:15, 21:25, 26:15, 13:4, 24:30-31,12:24) but the verse that really rang true for me has been Hebrews 6:12, “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” My mom always challenged me to be a productive problem solver and these words push me to this day.
“A job worth doing is worth doing right.”
Maybe my mom was quoting Hunter S. Thompson or maybe he was quoting her but the words, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing right” have taught me to pursue excellence in my work. If I was washing dishes, cleaning the litter box, or preparing a speech, these were the words my mom used to encourage me. It’s no wonder one of my favorite bible verses has always been Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
The words we choose have the power to shape eternity. Proverbs 18:21 puts it this way, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Think back to your last few conversations with those who matter to you most and ask yourself if you were speaking life or death. Are there phrases that you use with your kids that will challenge them to grow? Are you speaking scripture into their lives? What phrases do you suggest parents use when training up their kids in the way they should go? Share in the comments!