Don’t Call ‘Em as You See ‘Em…

This blog stems from a deep desire in me to not add to the negative voices in the universe. The voices whispering, “You are not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, creative enough…simply…you are not enough.” I hope to communicate a strategy I have adopted that has sent me to a different place with my children, friends and family. It has quieted some of the critical voices and shifted my semantics to speak life and love in to those around me.

Recently I was reading about Donald Miller’s tragic past with relationships…specifically with females. He had a broken engagement and a long track record pointing to a negative pattern with women. Each story ending with a crash and burn scenario. He was incredibly discouraged by this pattern but could not do much to fix it.  (Scary Close)**

Enter Bob Goff. Bob began to speak a different truth over Donald…words that almost seemed ludicrous. Regularly and sincerely he would say, “Donald, you are good at relationships.” He would then give examples in their own friendship of how Donald had treated Bob.

The language he used and his intentionality was quite surprising to read…but I was also shocked by Donald’s response. Over time he began to believe this truth about himself. He took serious steps to change in this area of his life– including attending a week long relational rehab of sorts. It was almost as if he wanted to live what Bob already believed to be true.

Stay with me friends…this has been bouncing around in my brain a bit…but we have the power to speak this kind of truth over others and it can create change. I think about my children who do things that are less than stellar: they speak to each other in nasty ways, they cut corners on chores, they may even lie to get out of or away with a certain behavior. I have a SERIOUS choice in how I respond with my words. I can call Kylee rude, and Caleb lazy and Joshua a liar…or I can do something that seems to really be a bit more Bob-like.

Recently when addressing my children about their short-comings I have started with this language, “Kylee, I am surprised by how you are speaking to your brothers…I know you are not a rude little girl–because I have seen you treat your friends with such kindness. You are a kind girl who loves her brothers…but that is certainly not coming out in your interaction today.”

Here’s another example…

“Caleb, I know this is not who you are! You are not a lazy child. I see you helping in the kitchen or cleaning up your room, (or whatever small area I see some effort) but today you really seemed to cut corners and the quality was far below what I know you are capable of.”

I think it is far easier to tell our kids how rude or lazy they are…I know I do this in my head even if it doesn’t come out of my mouth. (And it HAS come out of my mouth to be sure.) But over time I am coming to realize a self-fulfilling prophecy is a powerful thing…and if I want a home full of rude, lazy liars I should call ’em as I seem ’em. But if I would like to actually see change and growth I need to call them as I HOPE to see them… someday. (That includes how I speak ABOUT my children to others…even in relaying a story…little ears are listening.)

This translates to spouses, friendships, even co-workers and neighbors. If you believe the worst about that person…or feed the negative they believe about themselves…THEY WILL NEVER CHANGE. If you speak in to the universe (and over their lives) kindness and help them to see something that they are blind to see…they just might begin to embody your language for their lives.

Adults are a little more street savvy. I know Donald Miller rolled his eyes as Bob told him how “good” he was at relationships just days after he ended his engagement. But (secretly) he wanted this to be true…and finally did the work to make this a reality. **

I don’t want to paint our family with the “perfect brush” and have you believe we are all walking around saying the kindest of words and sharing only the good that we see in one another. Please. We are human and we hurt one another and I fail every day. But I have started to make this mental and verbal shift and our family seems to be responding well.

The stakes seem higher with adults…what if they don’t change? What if their patterns have already been set? I would say–it is never too late to speak (and pray) these words over someone you care about.

“A selffulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.”     (wikipedia)

Who today can you find who needs a different word? Who might you be bold enough speak kind words over a negative mantra? Word are powerful influencers, they can set the trajectory for our futures. May we be the game-changers in the word world. May we speak truth, love and kindness believing the best over those in our path.

(**All stories and references were pulled from Donald Miller’s Scary Close)

May You Be a Blessing and May You Be Blessed,





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