It is how you say it …

How many of you have heard the phrase, “It’s not what you say, but HOW you say it”? I hear it rarely all the time. My delivery is not the best. Just the other day my daughter said, “Mommy, you could ask nicely the first time.” Wow. Even when I don’t feel reactive I can come across as frustrated, upset, or condescending. I don’t like this about myself. God seems to be trying to make this more apparent to me lately.

Am I alone in this?

While most of my day is spent talking with munchkins 5 and under, I seem to disregard their need for dignity and respect. I’d be embarrassed if I had a live audio feed streaming some of my conversations with my children. I am snappy. Quick. Irritated. I don’t always use my polite words {something I expect my children to do all the time}! Oh the power of words. They can either bring life or death. I am learning that one word can quickly sting a person and consequently, bring death. It’s the word, “You.” To put a spin on the famous line of the movie Jerry Maguire, “You lost me at YOU…”

Do any of these phrases sound familiar?

You should know better…

What were you thinking?

You shouldn’t have done that…

Don’t you touch that …

Well, you always {blah, blah, blah}

Just writing these statements makes my blood start to boil. If someone spoke to me that way, I’d be super defensive. Instantly. It sounds so condescending. As if to say, I always get it right and you [the other person] don’t measure up. Ugh. This is not what I want my children to learn. Better yet, this is not what I want my children to learn from me.

Last week while studying for Bible study, I was reading John 4, the story of the woman at the well. He didn’t condemn this woman, but in fact offered her living water that would refresh her weary soul. It was not about pointing the finger to be sure she knew her place. We see that Jesus was gentle in his approach. He, with grace and love, revealed her sin and brokenness. Matthew Henry {commentary} notes, “Reproofs are ordinarily most profitable when they are least provoking.” I’m not sure I could have said it better myself.

“Reproofs are ordinarily most profitable when they are least provoking.” I have so much to learn. My challenge today is to move or remove the word YOU. For example, instead of saying, “You don’t speak to me that way”, I am going to {try to} say, “It is not okay to speak to Mommy that way.” The offense is still being addressed, but the HOW is different. Less provoking. More dignified. Another example, “That probably wasn’t the best choice” instead of “What were you thinking?” What a difference.

“Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest. Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”

Today I choose to speak life. “Lord, please help me, I cannot do this on my own.”

P.S. Wives this is also appropriate for how we speak to our husbands. With respect. I have not yet figured this one out, but my prayer is much the same. “Lord please help me…”

Be blessed,




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13 Responses to It is how you say it …

  1. Kristin says:

    I went to be last night with guilt about how I talk to my children. Praying that God would forgive and help me not be more gentle and kind when I speak to my children. Your post was just what I needed this morning. I am glad I am not alone in this struggle and thank you for your words of wisdom and advice.

  2. Susan Sykes says:

    Thank you so much. I struggle with the same issue with my two children. How can we ask them to do what we do not? Have a very blessed day! ~ Susan

  3. Lisa sraders says:

    Oh, bless you – I loved that quote from Henry…thank you for letting your life be used by God in this way! Blessings!

  4. Tricia says:

    You are not alone and it’s nice to know that I’m not alone either. I have one child. God blessed me with one child. Parenting one child should be easy right? I read lovely blogs about families with three, four, five, and more children and think–How is it that these moms are able to be so positive and loving in their parenting ALL THE TIME (because that’s the nature of blogs, right? We usually only see the positive.) to all of their sweet children and I can’t even manage a day without snapping at my one little boy? I struggle with my words, my frustration, my moods and I pray (a lot!) that I can find a better way with my son. Thank you for being so honest and sharing this today.

  5. I’m guilty, too! The Spirit is so Faithful to stop me and show me the tone of my voice. But I still do it! Ugh! Thank you for this sweet reminder. I must be quick to listen and SLOW to speak! :)

  6. hillary says:

    this is so good kc. sometimes i picture my girls when they’re teenagers (or old enough to know how truly ugly my words/voice is) and i get totally convicted. i want to be the BEST example of how we speak to one another, so why do i get so snappy so quickly?! this is really good. thank you.

  7. Amanda says:

    Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you for your encouragement. And your transparency. This was just what I needed to hear — God is good to plant those messages just when you need them most! So glad I found your blog. It is like an evening walk on the beach — refreshing, beautiful, and something you just want to see more of. Many blessings to you.

  8. Carol Shaw says:

    Excellent and thought provoking!

  9. Anita Martinez says:

    Meghan & I just spent the weekend with your parents. We went tubing with you mom down the Salt River for the 1st time. What a blast! Glad to have gone with such an experienced tuber! You’re mom is so cool!!!
    Your parents did a great job raising you. They weren’t perfect, but they were open to allowing God to parent through them and I can tell that He is also working through you as you parent your children. Keep up the “good” work! Your kids are beautiful!

    • K.C. says:

      Thanks Anita. My mom said it was a great time, too! I just wish I could have been there to catch up with you gals. I so appreciated your comment. My parents were/are great examples to me of how to lovingly raise children. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Heather Kindred says:

    I am so happy I discovered your blog/ website. Thanks to someone Retweeting your blog on Twitter I found it! Thank you so much for the encouraging and inspiring words, thoughts, and advice. It’s so refreshing and peaceful feeling to read what you have to say each time I read your blog. You are appreciated!

  11. Holly F says:

    Thanks so much for writing this. I just found your blog today through the Jones Design Co one, and I have liked everything I have read so far but this one has me crying because I struggle with this also almost every day.

    Usually I tell myself it’s because I’m just over saying the same things over and over and over again and then the words come out mean. Plus being so tired all the time from having 3 preschoolers & working full time at a sort of stressful job. But in truth it comes down to my heart not being right & not being obedient to God. Thanks again for being so transparent.

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