Whatchoo Talkin’ ‘Bout?

It occurred to me that perhaps I needed to clarify what I meant when I talk about raising children to be honoring in their speech. This is probably old hat to all of you, but just to make certain we’re all on the same page, I wanted to explain exactly what that means at our house.

At our house, dishonoring speech is the term that we use for any form of communication – both verbal and non – that does not match up with the Scriptural principle of considering others more important than yourself.

This means – whining, arguing, complaining, pestering and nagging are all dishonoring.  Lying is a given, as is yelling.  Having a cutting or harsh tone is dishonoring.  Using terminology that would manipulate someone into doing what you want is not an honoring way of communicating.  Rolling eyes, heaving sighs and or stomping feet are all covered by dishonoring speech. Interrupting – something that Clarks do in SPADES and are taking on as a major battle this year – is dishonoring.  Making a joke at someone else’s expense is not honoring. (With the qualifier, if they find it funny as well, it could be okay.)  Making a joke that is crude or offensive to anyone who is listening, is dishonoring.  Gossip, as well as the Biblical definition of slander qualifies.

Being willing to speak (kindly), even when one is angry is honoring. Speaking truthfully, yet kindly, of woundedness received at the hand of a family member is, as well.  “Please,” “thank you” and “excuse me” are considered not only honoring, but essential.  Complimenting the cook for the meal they have just served, is a way to consider the other person more important than yourself.  Commenting that you don’t like the food that is being served, is not.  (A “Blech!” will get you a second helping) Asking to be excused from the dinner table is honoring.

Answering the phone with a smile on your face is honoring.  Saying good-bye (or bye-bye, if you’re talking to me) when you’re done is honoring.   Not yelling into the phone when calling someone else to the phone is honoring.  Burping in the phone is not.  Addressing an adult with Mr or Mrs until otherwise released by said adult is honoring.  Continuing to address them as Mr or Mrs when they’ve told you they don’t like that is not.

As I write this, it just seems like the list goes on forever – but you see, when it all comes down to it, the issue is the heart attitude of the speaker.  When #1 son was small, I brought breakfast out to him and set it before him.  He took one look at it and said, “THIS is NOT what I ordered.”  Whooosh….without so much as another word, it was gone.  However, last week when I brought out some breakfast to the table, he, no longer being small, I might add, looked at breakfast and said, “Mom, I really don’t like eggs, would it be alright if I made something else, please?”  To which I agreed.

He didn’t refuse to eat it.  I know if I would have said, (and I know this because I have said it before) “No, I’m sorry Son, this is what I have planned for breakfast.  I’m really sorry you don’t like it, please eat it.”  I know he would have done so, without complaining. By my above list, this would qualify as dishonoring, as he is telling me he doesn’t like the food before him.  Yet, because our goal as parents is to address the heart attitude, it did not.

As a general rule, arguing, complaining and whining will always be considered dishonoring.   I have yet to run into a heart attitude that could allow for any of those and still be honoring.  A distracted child who doesn’t answer when called, under the law that we disciplined with before, would have qualified for discipline – but under grace, does not. (We DO discuss the need to be attentive, with ears that are straining to hear the voice of our Lord – and therefore our parents – but no discipline is administered….unless it becomes a habit.)

What about your house?  What kinds of things are considered dishonoring at your house? Do you find it easier or harder to discern the difference between the law and grace when it comes to speech patterns? Are you aware of your family’s weakest communication area/s?

Now, lest I give the impression in this post that we’ve attained to speech perfection, Jeff and I were at a meeting tonight that resulted in my needing to step outside and take a call regarding the speech behavior of our children.  Furthermore, one of us (Jeff and I) pointed out to the other, while on the way to said meeting, that the way they addressed the children before leaving was not honoring.  So, you see, we have perfected dishonoring speech.  Maybe that’s why I can identify it so easily.   🙄

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Comments
4 Responses to “Whatchoo Talkin’ ‘Bout?”
  1. javadawn says:

    And get this – 1:30 am, I’m woken to the sound of giggling girls. I walk into their room and their playing some kind of “catch me if you can” game with a flashlight!!! One of them is sitting in the middle of the room with the flashlight on, the other is sitting in the corner on top of the bookcase!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Want to guess how honoring my speech was?!!! I believe I said something akin to “I see you’ve found a new place to sleep tonight….” and it went down hill from there.

    Did I mention we had PERFECTED dishonoring speech at my house?!!!!

  2. winkies6 says:

    LOL on the middle of the night game! HOWEVER, I can see where it was not exactly appreciated by you. I’ve been awake/drifting in and out of sleep since 5 this morning. UGH.

    Thank you for this list. #3 and I have a LOT to talk about. And #2 and #1………… When is boot camp? Our spring break is the first week in April….. 😉

  3. Tiffany says:

    This is such a helpful post for me! Sometimes it is hardto put my finger on why a behavior doesn’t sit well with me, and this really clarifies my thought process.

    The big things we’re working on now are not asking over and over again after you’ve been given an answer, and asking nicely (in tone) the first time instead of whining right out of the gate. And of course please and thank you. She’ll still only sign thank you, but is good about it.

    On my end it is modeling my speach to my children that I want to hear back to me. *sigh* somedays are better than others.

    But you know what? Since we turned off the TV this weekend (put it in the closet actually) we’ve all been doing SO much better at honoring each other. I’m loving it!

  4. javadawn says:

    Ladies, I’m happy to offer a list, but DO remember, it’s the heart motive we’re seeking to address. Sometimes a tired child will respond is a dishonoring way – don’t just jump, consider what is going on. It’s harder than just addressing sinful behavior, but so is making a Double Fudge Cheesecake harder than buying a Sara Lee – but it’s SO worth the effort. 😀

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