I do not believe conditioning our children for failure in ever intentional. No parent gets up one day and say, “I’m going to abuse my child until he or she is unable to trust, sees nothing good in the world, looses all sense of self, feels unworthy of love and accepts abuse as normal.” I refuse to believe any parent purposefully speaks spiritual death into a child’s life. Most of us simply do what we know or, we learned from our own parents or other adults in our family. Others may have become abusers because they are filled with resentment, shame and a sense of hopelessness because of what others have done to them.
As a parent, I continue to learn through trials and errors, but my hope is that my adult children do not hold my mistakes or lack of parenting skills against me. Furthermore, I trust they do not measure my love for them against the mistakes I have made, but understand that I did the best I could with what I had. Now, it is very comforting to know that God is in the business of restoration and I have His phone number.
But even with forgiveness, some things are impossible to forget. So watch what you say and do, whether it is to your child or someone else’s, because we are going to have to give an account for every self-defeating word we speak into the life of a child. Words packed power and they can leave lasting scars, but the wonderful thing is that words also have the power to heal and inspire. Scripture tells “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).
Expect the best from your children and begin by speaking greatness into their lives! Ask them about their feelings, dreams and thoughts on issues that affect them. Validate them and, please listen to them! They are worth your time and effort. When things are looking bleak and hopeless, and depression and discouragement threatens them, pray for them and with them. When they make mistakes or mess up, do not enable them, but do not condemn them either. Show understanding, forgiveness and mercy. Remember, they know your thoughts on moral and social issues. They have observed how you behaved when confronted with difficulties, fears and stress. They were watching how you handled disagreements. In other words, our children know us.