“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)
There were probably more times that I blew it as a parent than times that I got it right as my children grew up.
But I will never forget the beautiful lesson that I learned from a very wise parent one morning at the school where I worked as the nurse. The mother of Dan, a high school junior, called me an hour after classes had begun.
“Dan and I had a fight before school this morning. It was over something so silly that I don’t even want to tell you. I’m sure you and your kids never have fights like that. (Um, yes, yes we do.) I need to ask a favor.”
“Sure,” I quickly responded. “What do you need?” Several seconds of silence, then a deep breath and a request: “I need you to take a message to Dan. I’m not exactly sure what class he is in now. But I need you to tell him how sorry I am for the disagreement this morning. Please tell him that it was my fault and I apologize and want him to forgive me. Please tell him that I love him with all my heart. Would you do that?”
It was my turn for several seconds of silence. What a beautiful offering this mother was making toward her son! Apologizing to him, asking his forgiveness and then letting him know how much he was loved. “It would be an honor,” I told her.
“There’s one more thing, if you don’t mind,” she added quietly. “Would you give him a hug? Tell him it’s from me.”
I fought back the tears. “Of course I will. As soon as we get off the phone, I will look up his schedule and find him and I will do exactly what you have asked. And by the way, thank you. Thank you for what you have just taught me with this phone call. Thank you for showing ME the right way to raise a child.” I could feel her smile as she responded “Toughest job I’ve ever loved.”
I checked Dan’s schedule and knocked on the door of his history class. “May I speak with Dan for a second in the hall?” I asked the teacher. Dan walked out and I shut the door. “Your mom called me a few minutes ago,” I told him.
“Yeah?” he frowned, as he shoved his hands in his jeans pockets and looked at the carpet. I took a deep breath. “She wanted me to tell you that she is very sorry for the disagreement that you two had this morning.”
Instantly he looked up at me. “She did?”
“Yes, she did. She said to ask you to forgive her and to tell you that she loves you with all her heart.”
I cannot adequately describe the changed expression on that young man’s face. The obvious hurt in his eyes melted into a huge smile that spread from ear to ear.
“Thanks Nurse Nancy. Thanks so much!” Dan kept smiling as he turned to go into the classroom.
“Oh, Dan, one more thing.” As he looked back at me I couldn’t help grinning. “Your mom said to give you a hug and tell you that it was from her.”
I was not prepared for the bear hug that lifted me up off the floor. “You bet! Thank you, Nurse Nancy. You made my day!” “No,” I thought, “you and your mother made MY day.”
I don’t know if Solomon wrote all of our power verses that we have for today’s devotion but I do know that his wisdom is as relevant to us today as parents as it was during Bible times.
We hold an incredible power over our children to either build them up or tear them down – all by what we say with our words. Let us resolve to imprint those three Proverbs into our hearts so deeply that they are the first thoughts that come to mind before we speak a word to our children.
We are all going to blow it every once in a while as a parent. But at the end of the day may we, like Dan’s mom, never hesitate to speak a message of love and forgiveness to our children.
My Prayer for Today
Father, there are mornings when I say things to my children that I wish I could take back. Please help me to stop and think before I speak. Guide me as I guide them each day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Do you look back and recall conversations that you wish you could change?
If you and your child do not have a good morning, do not hesitate to call someone at the school that you trust and ask them to deliver a message of love to your child.
Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Proverbs 25:11 (NIV) “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”