I’m a big fan of words. The #sowkind movement is [after all] rooted in my belief that words have the ability to influence stories, change seasons, and adjust perspectives. Words really matter, but words alone are not enough.
Very often in my parenting-I have used a phrase that was as much for me as it was for my children. “Let your actions match your convictions.” In other words, the words you declare must align with what you do.
The phrase “lip service” was born in the tension between saying and doing. Someone who doesn’t keep their word makes statements that aren’t backed with action. When I’ve encountered myself in this role, it makes me sick with regret.
One time, amidst my empty threats [parenting fail number…too many to count], my youngest responded in a way that stopped me dead in my tracks. I was carrying on about how I intended to give away any toys he did not want to pick up. I *may* have been using a highly annoyed tone. Eye-rolling and heavy-sighing *might* have accompanied my words.
After name-dropping for a solid 10 minutes, his little voice broke the loop of my lecture. “Mom, how old is good Will?” My head jerked to see him, and my eyes forgot to blink. My first instinct was to laugh. He thought Will was a well-behaved person.
My second response was a mix of embarrassment and conviction. How many times had I threatened to take his beloved possessions to Goodwill? Had my empty threats given him the idea that he was bad, but since Will was good he would get all the things? The thought NEVER crossed my mind.
While using lip service, I inadvertently created confusion. So, I sat on the floor, scooped him into my lap, and began explaining. A few days later, we took a field trip to the thrift store. While we were walking up to the storefront, I delighted to introduce him to Goodwill. All mental images of the sweet boy, good Will, were clarified in that moment.
I had to own that I was using words as weapons. Not only was my lip service not believable, it created an imaginary boy who was the anticipated recipient of many treasured possessions.
How old is good Will? That question surfaces in my mind from time to time. When it does, I laugh a quiet laugh and remind myself to be careful with my words. I want my actions to match my convictions, which requires honest reflection. Sometimes, the sincerest reflection is born from honest questions.
#MomentofTruthMonday #ActionsMatchConvictions #goodWillorGoodwill #Lifelesson