The tears were as real as the two “Princess Tiana” buns on each side of her head. Her normal smile and hug of excitement did not follow. I knew something had happened to my tender-hearted godchild. Our time would be brief, like ten minutes, but it was long enough to hear what had hurt her kindergarten-heart.
“The kids were mean to me.”
My heart sank.
“They made fun of my hair.”
Her hair was fixed in a precious arrangement over her sweet little face, just like one of her favorite Disney Princesses, Tiana. She loved her hair fixed this way, but now she did not, all because of what other kids had had to say. Likely starting with just one kid’s thoughts.
(How dare they! I thought.)
I knew this was not her first experience with kids being mean, and nor would it be the last. The world proves to be cruel–even before Kindergarten.
I fumbled a few words to console her, but nothing really felt on the mark to me. My own memories of childhood pain began to filter what I saw in her.
What did Truth want to speak to comfort her heart?
“I love your hair like this,” I said, because I do. Her pouting lips only stuck out further. What her godmother had to say did not change a thing. What mattered to her right then was what her schoolmates had said.
There is something viscerally cruel when kids are mean to kids, yet it happens all of the time. And, these are the tender years where words and lies can get stuck inside of us. They can become our reality, unless nipped in the bud with truth and love.
I’ve yet to meet anyone unscathed from this kind of attack in life, at some point or another. I’ve certainly had my share, and the most common consolation I received was,
“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”
I’d say that back to the kids who were cruel to me, or at least, I’d say it to myself. I figured that it had to be true because the grown-ups in my own life had said so.
Yet, the pain remained.
If words were not suppose to hurt, then something must really be wrong with me.
And, looking back on this advice, it actually gives “bullies” permission to use words as weapons because … words don’t really hurt anyway.
God’s Word clearly says otherwise.
- Words are weapons of warfare, as in the Sword of the Spirit being the Word of God. (Ephesians 6)
- Words can create, “Let there be light!” God spoke the world, the Universe, into existence. (Genesis 1)
- Jesus is referred to as The Word! (John 1)
Words DO matter. They give life or death!
Words create or destroy.
Words project into our future, or keep us stuck in the past. And, when you think about the fact that sound never stops traveling, words continue to resonate in our hearts and souls, and out into the expanse of the Universe, forever.
Our words DO matter.
I hugged my heartbroken sweetie good-bye as her mother whisked her away to an appointment. I felt completely inadequate with what I had shared, because nothing had changed her pain.
As I drove back home, I knew that hurtful words could perpetuate into a deeper spiral inside of her young and tender heart. This hung heavy on my own heart.
I asked God to meet her right where she was, in a puddle of pain.
Not too many days after that encounter, I picked her up for the weekend. I felt that I should not bring it up, unless she did. She often shared these pains with me if they still hung on inside.
I prayed for the perfect words to say if the subject did come up.
The following day while driving her and her best friend to a park, her friend shared that some kids where mean at her school. My ears perked up as I wondered if this was the time I’d fumble for more words on this matter.
My godchild piped up, and shared that kids were mean to her at her school recently. I listened more to see where she landed after a few days of processing this with her mama. And, what she said was the most powerful response I’d ever heard, especially coming out of the mouth of a babe.
When she went back to school, she shared the wisdom her mother had spoken into her pain. Words of truth, and direction of how we should all filter what we say. Not just those in kindergarten.
“What you said to me did not make God happy. God only likes words from heaven, not hell. God likes words that are sweet and kind and thoughtful, LOVE.” (From the mouth of a babe)
I sat in total awe of how she shared this wisdom, passing it on to another young soul. And, how we can ALL glean from this.
Our words MATTER!
As we continue on into this new year, let’s keep that wisdom in mind. Words that are sweet and kind and thoughtful, LOVE!
Sticks break skin. Stones break bones. Words break hearts.
No matter how old or how young we are!
Make your words count on the right side of the score sheet.
We are all leaving a legacy behind.
Let’s leave a legacy of Life!