Words can be creative. They can build, restore, liberate, soothe, heal, teach, instruct, empower and bring into being what was not there before. Words can be destructive, rip down, hurt, upset, and cause despair and damage to relationships as well as a whole lot more.
As parents, what we say to our children and teens also has the same power. It is not just the words we say, it is the intent that flows right alongside our words. I believe the two are inseparable. What do I mean by ‘intent’? It is the strong feeling, attitude and focus that our words carry. For instant when we say ‘Thank you’ or ‘sorry’ and mean those words they carry an important message. So meaning what we say is an essential part of ‘intent’. If we say words without meaning them such as reciting a blessing or karakia while thinking about what we are needing to do next, it can be like using a very good hose to water the garden however, without the water which is likened to ‘intent’ the flower doesn’t get watered.
Our family is like the garden. We all need to ‘water’ each other every day. Kind, loving words and words that convey our expectations, values and beliefs are creative and powerful. We need to hear these words every day. We all need to say these words every day. These are words that build self-worth, resilience, connection and relationship and strengthen families from within.
Living with positive intent does not always come naturally to all of us especially if our back story, in particular our childhood, tended to be filled with unhelpful, unkind, punitive words. So for those of us who find it difficult to remember to watch what comes out of our heart and mouth I want to offer you encouragement. It is a skill that can be learnt just like any other skill and it requires practice just like any other skill. When we realize the power that our words have on others, in particular those we love, we can determine to be creative in a positive sense and build strength, love, hope, resilience, and most of all connection.