Proverb 16:21 “The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.”
As I prayed about what to share with you, this verse just kept coming back to me over and over again. As with most training techniques I utilize with small children, this too applies to the aging. If you ever get a hold of this principle I am sharing today, it won’t just change YOUR life, it will literally change the lives of those around you.
One of the things I get more compliments on than any other is how much my kids show their love and respect for me. I am blessed beyond measure by this, but… it did NOT happen by accident. If you have all the right ingredients and follow the recipe you will always turn out with a perfect cake. But you first have to start with the right ingredients. I have used Scripture to help me formulate what has proven to be a pretty fool-proof plan when raising kiddos. God’s ways are often filled with seeming contradictions. (ex: “The first shall be last.” Mark 9:35) I am a firm disciplinarian. But…once I learned to implement the “sweetness of the lips”…WOW! What a game changer!
This principle was evident multiple times this week, but two stand out it my mind vividly.
First, I was at the gym working out with my group when I noticed a fourteen year old young man sitting in the corner watching us. (He may need counseling for that someday…just sayin’!) My buddy walking warm-up laps with me jokingly nudged me and said, “Somebody needs Camp Cha Cha!” I watched him for several laps and noticed two things about him. 1. He had a sweet spirit. 2. He looked very embarrassed about having to be there. So I approached him and asked was he there as some kind of punishment having to watch middle-aged women do bootcamp? (You can see the future need for counseling.)
I was shocked when he replied that he was there as punishment. Sorry, little man, but this may verge on “cruel and unusual punishment.” Turns out, he got in trouble on the bus and he and the boy who started it (yes, I believe him) both got three days suspension. His step-mom had no choice but to bring him with her. I asked him what happened and listened without judging him. He told me the story and also how he was struggling in school and was afraid this was going to set him back further. When he was finished I simply told him that he needed to apologize to the bus driver and to the teachers whose classes he had missed when he goes back on Monday. Then, I told him to go up to each teacher and talk to him/her privately and tell them he is an “A” student and he is struggling in their class. What can he do to bring his grades up to an “A”?
You should have seen his eyes when I told him to tell them he was an “A” student! I told him, that he IS an “A” student…his grades just weren’t reflecting that as of yet…but they would! He had told me how he wanted to go into the military when he graduates because then he could go to college on the G.I. Bill. I told him that was an excellent choice and that he still needed to make good grades to get into the military because he DEFINITELY looked like Officer material. You really should have seen that expression! He seemed blown away. I shook hands with him. I told him I was glad to have met him and that he would use this little bus incident as a growing tool. Then I went over to my mat and proceeded to be tortured by our Trainer.
An amazing thing happened this morning. When his step-mom came in she told me that I had sure made an impression on him. Apparently, I was all he could talk about! He thought I was the nicest, kindest, funniest person he ever met! (I told you this kid was smart.) 😉 Now…why did he think that? Because I took five minutes of my day and the sweetness of my lips and I sowed a seed of greatness into a little boy I’ve never seen before. I may never see him again. But that seed that I sowed will take root and with enough people around him watering and cultivating it…we will be saluting him before you know it.
I CRINGE when I hear parents talk about their, “wild child”, “brat”, “little hellion”, “awful kid”, “rotten child”. Guess what there Einstein…you reap what you sow! (Galatians 6:7) If you sow words of affirmation you will reap those seeds. I told my kids a buhzillion times, “you are so smart”, “you are so kind”, “you are going to do amazing things”. (I did this years before Aibileen came along.) 😉 Twenty years later guess what I have reaped? Kids who turned out smart, kind, and doing amazing things! I find it intriguing that the first part of this verse says, “The wise in heart shall be CALLED prudent.” Prudent means wise. Since the Bible is full of contradictions, it’s safe to say, “The stupid in heart shall be CALLED stupid…”
Here is your test for the coming week: Listen to how you speak to your kids, your mother, your father, your hubby, your wife…are you using the “sweetness of the lips”? Or are you spouting out orders, barking sarcastic comebacks, sowing poisonous seeds?
The second incident that sticks out in my mind happened today with Aunt Mary (age 85) and her brother, Uncle Albert (age 87).
I took Aunt Mary by to see her brother Albert. In the midst of talking with her he looked at me and remarked, “My momma was the most encouraging woman I’ve ever known! Why, when I would get discouraged as a little boy, she’d pull me up close and tell me not to fret that I was going to accomplish great things someday because I was the smartest in the bunch! What I didn’t know was she was telling all NINE of us kids the exact same thing! Ha! Ha!” I commented that she had been exactly right! He had accomplished great things…all nine of them have!
As I drove away I thought about the fact that EIGHTY years later…his momma’s words were still in his heart. Obviously, they meant quite a bit to him, as he choked up just retelling them to me.
Momma’s, our words are powerful things…let’s make them sweet!