In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Help! I’m talking and I can’t shut up!

Recently, I had what I call a duct tape moment.

We were watching some show on TV in which a couple had gotten married and they had won a big honeymoon package. Not thinking, I said out loud and sarcastically, “How stinkin lucky are they! When I got married instead of getting a honeymoon, I won 2 babies.” As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I wanted to slap myself because in horror I realized that little man and little lady were playing nearby. And they don’t miss anything. Anything.

“Someone, please duct tape my mouth.”

Little man looked at me and I smiled at him, while praying that he had neither  heard nor understood the meaning behind my words.  I let out a big sigh of relief as he jumped up and said “You were the big winner of us!”And they both came running into my arms as they screamed “You are so lucky that you won us!” Of course I reassured them that I was indeed the big lucky winner and that they were much better then going to that place on TV. 

Everything turned out fine. I recovered my words without them knowing but still it got me to thinking about the power of my words. The power they have to build up or to tear down…to heal or to hurt…to give or to take away from. I think what comes or doesn’t come out of a persons mouth say’s a lot about them.

What do my words say about me?

If I am willing to be brutally honest with myself and you,  then I would admit that there are times, I really need to do a better job of keeping my mouth shut. Seriously. There are times, I stop and listen and hear in horror that the voice behind those words is mine. 

Do you ever have those moments when you hear yourself talking but you just can’t shut up? It’s those times I want to scream,“Help me Lord, I’m talking and I can’t shut up!”

Having diarrhea of the mouth is embarrassing…especially in hind sight…and especially when you have a young audience…any audience for that matter…that can mistake the meaning behind your words…that will go on to repeat those words or worse yet, remind you for years to come that you said “that”.  Ugh.

I have gotten better over the years at keeping my thoughts to myself…to think before I speak….at least with the real obvious things. This does not mean that I don’t on occasion, let my thoughts form into words that come out of my lips. Actually this is probably a lie because I’m sure I do this far more than I realize.  Hence the example I shared at the beginning of this post. Ugh.

Do you ever catch yourself sharing thoughts that you should probably keep to yourself?

I have mastered the art of self control in not swearing or saying “naughty” words out loud, especially when little ears are around to hear or inappropriate times. In fact for the most part, this former potty mouthed, talk like a drunken sailor(no offense to any sailors)has been reformed over time, for the most part. Mostly, due to becoming a mother and not wanting my children to repeat what I’m saying but mostly because I grew up and realized  that talking with my potty mouth was not pretty. This does not mean that an occasional “naughty” word or two don’t escape these lips. And I will not lie, I swear in my head…some day’s more than other’s. Ugh.

Do you have a potty mouth?

I cringe when I think of the times I have spoken and yet my actions speak otherwise. Hypocrisy.  Nothing bothers me more then when I fail to walk the talk or live what I’m teaching. Ugh.

I tend to be a positive person by nature but that doesn’t mean that negative crap doesn’t ever come out my mouth. If I have went too many nights without enough sleep. If I watch too much of the news or tv in general. If I spend too much time with negativity, it wants to come home with me.  If I am not careful it tries to move in. Ugh.

Do you ever struggle with speaking negatively?

I think of the times that I have spoken out of ignorance or spoken out of anger or hurt…or out of not knowing the whole truth or information…or was insensitive in my words and how I wish that I could take my words back. But the thing is, there is no taking my words back once I say them. I can say I am sorry and ask for forgiveness but there is no deleting or wiping away the affects that my words caused. Ugh.

I know all too well the wounds caused by words. I know how words have hurt and cut me like a knife deep into my heart. I have forgiven the speaker of the words but years later, I still remember them. This is what drives me to care so much about what words come out of my mouth.

Have you ever been hurt or wounded by the words of someone?

Whether I realize it at the time or not, the little ears of my little people are almost always listening…even if I’m not talking directly to them…or in the same room as them. They hear me. They repeat me. They, for the most part, are mini-me’s…mimicking my words and actions in their play and their daily life.

They are forming beliefs about themselves and the world, by the things I speak…and of course the actions that go with those words. Much of the time, it is positive…I hear them talking and acting in such ways that are positive. But not always…sometimes I hear them or see them do something that is less then pretty and I know they learned it from me. Cringe. These are the moments that keep me humble as a parent.

When my now grown children were growing up I remember telling them “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” And every day before they left for school, I would say,“Watch your words. They have the power to bring someone down or bring someone up.”

Have you taught the children in your life anything about their words?

A few simple words that come out of our mouths have the power to make or break someone’s day. They have the power to uplift and give strength to someone that is weak. They have power to remind someone of their value and worth. Our words can tell someone they are not alone. And yet, our words can do just the opposite…if were careless with our words. Either way, our words make a difference.

Sometimes, things are better left unsaid. Sometimes things are better left said to someone more appropriate. Sometimes words need to be chosen more carefully. Sometimes there are things that should never be spoken. Sometimes silence speaks louder then my words. Sometimes there are things that need to be said and I need the courage to say them. Sometimes I just need to stop, shut my mouth and listen with both ears.

Someone, please get me the duct tape!


Do you ever have duct tape moments?



Jan said...

I spent 12 years being hurt daily by the words of someone - someone who deliberately used their words to do the most possible damage. As a result, I try to NEVER say anything in anger - even if you don't mean it, you can never, ever, ever take it back. I will walk away and cool off before I discuss anything when I'm so mad I'm not sure what I'll say.

Everyone slips up now and again, though, so don't be so hard on yourself. Speaking of not being so hard on yourself, the reaction of your Little People is a testament to just how loved and secure they feel - if they had heard their mother, for example, say that, would they have had the same reaction? They really DO feel like they are the greatest prize in your life, because YOU make sure they do.

The Incredible Woody said...

Go ahead and send a couple of rolls my way;)

Riahli said...

All the time. Once again I love your post, so often they make me stop, reflect and think. Words are powerful, it scares me the power of words with my own children. I am afraid that in a moment of weakness I will say something that will wound them deeply, and I don't wish that for them as I lived through that myself as a child. When I get angry or frustrated is when things fly out of my mouth that were better left unsaid or spoken in a different way. I cringe when I see my children mimicking my poor behavior. They pick it up so fast, and they are so aware even when we don't think they are watching or listening! I have to admit that I am constantly resolving to do better, which of course means I regularly fall short...but I am trying and I'd like to think I've come a long way! :) My potty mouth has gotten a lot better anyways, except sometimes when I've been woken up for the tenth time in one night it does come back to haunt me...cringe. Someone once said that when ever you want to swear say the word beautiful instead, it's pretty funny and it works fairly well, when I'm not tired that is. ;) I heard my son say "Oh beautiful" when he dropped something the other day, and it made me giggle.

Shrinky said...

I think your kids are incredibly lucky to be raised by someone with the insight and sensitivity to know what a powerful influence words have. No one is perfect, but the very fact that you are aware and consciously TRY to be a positive force, is huge - truly!

I cringe looking back on all the many times I've blurted out something I can never take back. You are so right, we all need to pause at times before engaging our mouth - but being human, we don't always succeed.

Busy Bee Suz said...

As hard as I try, I still could use some duct tape. I think we all have great intentions, but do let things slip. You are human, it happens.
Don't beat yourself up!!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

What a wonderful post Lori and such a good reminder. I work daily on all the points you mention. Especially not using my favorite curse words. I save them for appreciative moments and my gals that have a sense of humor about expletives.

Another one that seems to come at me a lot and I have had to deal with is judgemental and critical people offering advise. A lot of my women friends turned into Type A moms after they had kids and they can be extremely judgemental of other people's parenting and children. I find myself spending less time with them as it is offensive to me.

LPC said...

My best friend and me call our worry about this "blab paranoia." But we are worrying more about our social gaffes. Words ARE wounding, if we don't watch out. Something can be positioned as teasing, and, in fact, be terribly harmful. Your little guys are lucky you even think about this.

Brian Miller said...

our words are the sharpest swords and most soothing balm...a lot of great points is a disciple that must be maintained with the utmost diligence...jan makes a great point about anger as to go find the duct tape...great post!

Anonymous said...

I was once talking to a few people at a social gathering that involved cars. We were talking about various cars we had owned. Someone asked me how many cars we had bought and sold in the time we had known them. I began to talk as I was thinking and I said, "..... blah blah blah.... then there was that piece of crap Toyota but that doesn't count right?" It was a few sentences later than I was still talking but realizing that the man who had bought that piece of crap Toyota was to my right. What made it worse was this conversation was originally made complimentary by him and his asking us how many "cool" cars we had owned. It still haunts me that I made him feel poorly about a car he actually loved and was proud of. What kind of fool am I? A not so pretty one. What goes on in our mind should not always come out of our mouths. IF If could just learn to change my thoughts so that they were never negatively charged it would be so easy. IF I were not so opinionated it would be so easy. IF IF IF!

Send the duct tape my way. BTW Did you know it comes in all different colors not to match any outfit?

Buckeroomama said...

Having children has definitely helped me "check" my words or at least not rush into blurting out something. Not easy and I still struggle, but I show a lot more restraint now compared to how I was when I was much younger. Words are very powerful and they can cut deep. Sometimes even under the best of intentions, the words don't come out right... and those are the instances when it's just better to stay mum.

Bogey said...

Fantastic post Lori and very honest! Sad to say, I have had many moments where the tongue was faster than the brain. It's too bad that our brains were not designed with a 3-5 second delay mechanism so that we could quickly scan our thoughts before they develop into words. That would save a lot of grief for all involved. As for the swearing part, I can honestly say that I am no different from anybody else when my emotions overide my logic. This has been one of the things that I have worked hard on in the past year. Although, I have been a trooper in front of the wee ones. And, I have even had to remind a few adults who were unleashing the occasional blue streak. Somtimes, when we hear others fly off the handle, it gives us reason to check our own habits before passing judgement. Thanks for a wonderful read.

Children of the 90s said...

I can definitely relate, especially when I have these types of moments at work. Sometimes I just blurt something out and only once it's out does it occur to me that maybe I shouldn't have let it slip.

SciFi Dad said...

I'm usually pretty good around the kids, but around my wife? Holy crap do I have duct tape moments.

Jacquelyn said...

Yes, I think a new phrase has been coined - "duct tape moments" --and I have my share as well.

I agree with Jan's comment that your Little People must feel totally loved and secure by their reaction to what you said. How wonderful!

Duct tape comes in coordinating colors? Maybe that will help!