Childhood. One thing we can all agree on is that we had a childhood. Whether it was rich or left much to be desired is another question entirely but childhood? We all went through it. I mean we had to go through it before we became adults. There are some things that may be common to us all (mostly) such as loving McDonalds happy meals or going through the (now defunct?) Argos catalogue imagining all the endless possibilities of toys we could have even though it more often than not would not happen in reality. I could go on and on but you get the drift. There are some things however that are unique to each and every one of us and words said or implied to us can greatly affect us as we become older. Subconsciously or consciously. I'll share a snippet of my own personal experiences.
'I can't really imagine you as a mother'
Weird right? I can't remember the exact point when it was said and it may not strictly fall between the childhood age range but I was young when it was said. Luckily my parents didn't say it ( they wouldn't say such a thing). The person in question added that it was due to my personality and something along the lines of not being warm/affectionate. The highlighted quote is not verbatim but it was definitely along those lines. Truth be told it was one of the things that did make me concerned/thinking about if I would be a good mother when the time comes. Thankfully I don't have those fears again and God has really been renewing my mind in that aspect. Words really do have life and we should be mindful of what we say to children/ teenagers/ whoever really. Words are never just words and the fact that the person who said this is actually no longer alive but I remember what was said is testament to that. We really do need to think before we speak.
Comparison to my sister
When I was younger quite a few family friends and other people would compare me to my sister, the one directly after me. My sister was a lot more outgoing whilst I was more reserved and for whatever reason people thought that I was not worth knowing. Thankfully my parents never compared us. There was a period that I had some resentment towards my sister for it and it reflected in my actions which were wrong. I then went through a short phase of trying to be more 'outgoing' / like my sister and I failed. Miserably. Because it just was not me and it was honestly exhausting being somebody I was not. I remember one time someone at church directly asked me
'Why can't you be more like your sister'
To which I responded, 'Because I'm not her'.
Not that it mattered or that it made it right but the person in questions was not a parent. They are now though and I hope for their own sake and generally that they don't utter such things to any child whether it is their child or not. It is sad but even in church some people can be mean. I'd love to say that the words didn't affect me but I realised that even up to a few years ago there would be this thought at the back of my mind especially when meeting new people, that they would prefer my sister more if she was around. I'm happy I have overcome that and I am so happy that I have parents that always encouraged us to be ourselves and celebrated the different personalities we have.
Typing all this may make it seem like it was an overnight process in getting over the damage that the words caused but it really wasn't. It took me time, praying and being comfortable in who I am as a person in getting over the words. I write this post to encourage anyone who may be dealing with the effects of words especially from childhood that are still affecting them today. I also write it for adults especially those who have children or are surrounded by children; be mindful of the words you say to children. They may not respond but they know.And you don't know the damage you may be causing to children when you're careless with your tongue.
Words have life.
Choose them wisely.