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Fateful Words

How the Messages You Send Your Children Today Mark Their Future

My husband and I are a study in contrast. I was raised in an environment where harsh words were carelessly uttered. Cursing and bullying were daily occurrences, making me a timid and withdrawn child. He grew up being told he was bright and could do anything he set his mind to. “That one word made all the difference,” he told me the other day. I believe that because my husband is one of the most confident and positive persons I know. I, on the other hand, do still occasionally  battle with self-defeating thoughts even as a Christian.


Words . . . what great power they hold to sway futures. In his research for the book Dealing With Emotional Intelligence, psychologist Daniel Goleman found out that confidence, not high IQ, is the best determinant of success. In other words, a person who’s been conditioned to think that he or she is smart and believes it, even though he or she may not have that high an IQ, will do better in life than someone who has superior intelligence but doubts it.


Before we started a family, we made a conscious choice to raise our kids in a positive and loving environment. And that has everything to do with the way we speak. The world bombards children with so much negativity nowadays. We want our home to be a safe refuge for our daughter Mishca and her future siblings.

DSC_0103 Mishca, mom and dad on her baby dedication and 1st birthday celebration

In our house, we have made an effort to use our lips to–

*Say “I love you” and say it as often as possible. I was taught to believe that doing this will spoil your child, but God, in the Bible, is ever so vocal in telling  us how much He loves and values us, even when we err. It is His love, after all, that draws us and His kindness  that leads us to repentance. We want Mishca to know that we love her unconditionally, even when she makes mistakes.

      Five-day-old Mishca & Her Dad

*Declare a blessing. When I was pregnant with Mishca, a friend gifted us with a book that states the importance of spoken biblical blessings. Prayers and blessings said in their hearing, the author states, gives children a sense of identity and security that they will carry for life. The author knows wherefore he speaks because he has seen the effect of this in his own life and in the life of his kids. God is a blessor and an encourager. In the Bible, God called Gideon a “mighty warrior” when in reality he was a cowardly young man. When God commissioned him to save his people from their enemies, Gideon doubted his capability and called himself the least in his family. I believe it is God’s encouraging words that transformed an insecure lad into one of Israel’s greatest judges.


*Praise sincerely. Jesus gave credit where credit was due. He told a centurion: “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Matthew 8:10. Praise, not nagging, reinforces positive behavior. An article in Reader’s Digest says that children should be praised for doing their best  and not just when they come up with our desired outcome. This will encourage them to develop good work ethics.


*Be gracious when correcting. We have learned to label the behavior and not the child.  Instead of saying, “Bad girl!” when Mishca does something unacceptable, we say, “What you did was wrong.” Then we tell her what she ought to do. I have heard parents and caretakers in their anger say “Bad boy!” or “Ang arte-arte mo! (You’re so finicky!) or “Ang tanga mo! (You’re so stupid!)” and it pains me. They don’t realize the emotional damage they are inflicting. It is not  easy to correct in love. One time out of frustration, I uttered: “Ang tigas ng ulo mo! (You’re so hard-headed!)” Michael immediately silenced me. Even in the heat of emotion, I do have a choice.  Sometimes the best recourse is to just keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to be like the Devil whom the Bible describes as the accuser of God’s children.


As parents, we have been given by God the great privilege of helping shape our children’s destinies. May we rise up to the challenge and be found faithful.


“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
–Proverbs 12:18

Written on a joyride to Tagaytay with a sleeping baby on my lap. 🙂

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This article was written for  the 700 Club Asia website. Read more articles by clicking here

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