The Words They Hear

We were on vacation last week; and wherever we went, the twins were the talk of the majority of our passersby.  I was struck by how many positive, “They are so cute!” reactions Isabel and Elliana elicited from complete strangers.  I even commented to Travis at one point that the people in Wisconsin seemed more appreciative of children than so many others this mother-of-four has encountered over the past few years…. I have to remind myself of that positive impression as I sit down to write this post which springs from my musings over a couple of the not so positive (although innocent) comments the very existence of our children evoked last week.

I write not because I harbor resentment when a stranger doesn’t seem to appreciate my children as much as I do, but because I have observed and experienced firsthand a certain insensitivity in well-meaning people.  And I wonder what age my children will have to be before these outspoken people will realize that my kids have ears and understanding and feelings… and that negative words springing from a sort of anti-children sentiment are hurtful to children.

One of the latest remarks to which I am referring actually came from a child herself.  As my family walked into the room, a pre-teen muttered in a less than positive tone, “Man, that’s a lot of kids….”  And from where did she get that sentiment?

The other of the two remarks which have provoked this post was, to me, one of the most hurtful I’ve heard.  A random stranger was walking near us as we moved from one location to another at a waterpark.  She was commenting on how cute Isabel and Elliana’s swimsuits are, to which I replied with a smile in my voice, “Yes, they sure are, and I got to buy two of them!”  Her quick and definitive reply came, “You got to buy two, but I sure wouldn’t want twins!”  The smile in my heart faded and a sadness momentarily took its place.  All I could think was, “I sure hope they didn’t hear what she just said.”  They were walking not two steps ahead of us.

Elliana



Now, my kids have never indicated that they have noticed or been hurt by such “anti-children” comments; but if they notice and are affected by the positive comments, why wouldn’t the same be true for the negative?

Travis and I are continually showing and telling our children how much we love and appreciate and enjoy them; and I suppose I can be comforted to think that that ought to be enough to protect their little hearts from the insensitive words they occasionally hear from strangers.  But still it saddens me that people can be so quick to speak, not considering that “rash words are like sword thrusts” (Proverbs 12:18 ESV)… and that the stab of their anti-children words is into the tender and impressionable hearts of the children in whose hearing they speak.

To my readers and to myself I say, let us take heed to our words–and even more so to our hearts, “for out of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45 ESV).  Words don’t come forth without having some effect on the hearer.  If “death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21), then we can be sure that our words–good or bad–are helping to shape the people our children will become.


Isabel



“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

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8 Comments

  1. Weems family says:

    While we were on vacation last week we actually had the check out lady say, “yikes, are they all yours?? What were you thinking?!” I just replied with a smile that we love it (our life) and they’re a blessing. I too worry about how our kids feel getting these comments so often. :(

  2. tammy rice says:

    That is sad. Every child is such a special blessing from God! I wish people would think before speaking. They don’t even consider their comments to be negative! When I had all four of your kids a few weeks ago, I lost count of all the times I heard, “Oh man! You have your hands full…you are one brave Grandma!” My reply…”No, they are NOT a handful at all and I love getting to have them come stay..it’s such a blessing!” I am happy to say I got as many positive comments as I did negative. :-)

  3. busymomof10 says:

    Excellent post!

    Your twins are adorable! All of your kids are! And you are So CUTE! How could people not find you all irresistable??

    Don’t let the insensitive comments of strangers Steal Your Joy! You have a precious family!

  4. Rosanna Elizondo says:

    It is sad that today’s society sees children as a burden rather that a blessing. And to think that our kids are picking up on others regarding them as a burden is even worse. :(

  5. Angela
    Hello Angela- My name is Angie– mother to 7 wonderful Warriors for Christ(children)
    I read your post this morning and it has been on my mind ever since. One of the things that has been ringing through my mind and a question I wanted to pose to you…the people whose statements you were speaking of, are they believers? Do you know if these strangers are Christians?

    So here is my challenge to you dear sister is if they are not believers, then we can not expect any better response then what we get for having a large family.

    I use it as an opportunity to teach the love of Christ to those strangers and share with my children how lost people are to them selves that they do not see the joy in raising Godly seed.

    Thank you for the reminder of watching my words..

    Your sister in Christ
    Angie
    http://www.helpmeettosam.blogspot.com

  6. Angela says:

    Angie,

    Thanks for your comment. I can’t say whether the parties I was referring to are Christians or not. They were merely passersby. I agree with you that we can’t expect non-believers to behave the same way believers ought to. I think the most I (we) can do to influence these naysayers is to, in that brief moment of conversation, display with my words and my attitude the love I have for my children and the joy that is in my heart because of them.

    Blessings,
    Angela

  7. Alicia says:

    Even at the college stage people make comments to us about how much we have and are costing our parents an arm and a leg. The nice thing is, when you’re older and used to getting so many of the same comments, you can decide who to tell usually. No more strangers being rude.

    Though when I was in my early twenties at a pool my sister lifeguarded at I was yelled at for being in the hot tub as the guy didn’t think I was even sixteen. My sister was lifeguarding nearby and told him I was her sister aka same age. Now I get more comments on how young I look than being a triplet – something people can easily notice and comment on about me.