It was while reading verses 1 and 2 from the Message translation that several thoughts came to me regarding my time as a child and how my childhood has affected me as a parent. Here are the verses I read, from the Message translation:
1Co 13:1-2 MSG If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. (2) If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.
For a few years as I was growing up my mother had a roommate living with us. A female friend she knew from college whose name I won't mention, even though she has passed on from this life. During my years in which she lived with us, there were several times when I would do something wrong, or do something to help yet it would backfire, such as the time I used normal dish washing soap in the dishwasher, and the only things I would hear were "You're useless!" or "Idiot!" or "You will never amount to anything!". Yet whenever the roommate would be with other people, in social or intimate settings with other family members, her words were never hateful or hurtful. +
Those words at times still haunt me, even though I have become successful in life, thanks to God and my loving wife.
Thinking all of this led me to reflect on how I am as a parent. I know the power words have on a person, and I can honestly say that I have never said anything as hateful to my kids as what was said to me growing up. Now I am not infallible and I have yelled at my kids before. I have apologized afterwards to show them it wasn't appropriate, but I will never tell them they won't amount to anything or that they are idiots or anything like that because that is not what they are. They are both intelligent, promising kids with bright futures. And they are my daughters. They deserve better than what I got.
I feel I am rambling here and if you feel that way then I apologize. I think the whole premise of this is to simply ask this. Watch what you say to your kids. Words will stay with them for years and years and if all they hear from you are things that bring them down, that tear them down, then you are hurting them for far longer than you will ever know. Build them up. Bring them up. Love them up.
I wish I had been.