I have also always loved putting words to paper. I was the little kid who spent summers sending in poems & short stories to Highlights Magazine. I remember typing away at my sister's electric typewriter (which was her luxury purchase back in the 80's when my dad won the lottery & they gave each of us kids a small portion to do with what we wanted) I just loved hearing the whir of her typewriter start up & the loud tapping noise it would make as you selected each letter. I was so thrilled when she finally let me start using it a few years later. Some of the shine was gone but that machine still (literally) hummed. I remember spending later summers working on my "Great American Novel". Creative writing was always my favorite class in school & at one point after high school graduation I had a writing assignment with a golf magazine. That is when I realized that unless it is something I am passionate about the words don't' come. Alas, my writing career came to an early retirement.
Reading words has to be one of my favorite ways to interact with them. I have devoured books every since the Sweet Valley High days (I can't be the only elementary school girl who LOVED those twins) & have continued gobbling them right up to now when I read things like Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See & Dr. Seuss to my tiny people. Nothing thrilled me more when my eldest son started having the reading bug. He was so excited about getting his library card & having the ability to be able to select & check-out his very own books. I am thinking that my younger son may not share our enthusiasm for all things written. I was trying to motivate him with rewards for potty-training & even told him he could even get his very own library card if he would.just.go.on.the.potty. Turns out for that 3-year-old the library card was not the way to his heart (shocking). Looks like the way to his heart is paved by chocolate chips.
The spoken word is a little more elusive to me. It isn't that I have a lack of words to say (just ask my husband) it is more like words that come out of my mouth are sometimes shrouded in mystery. I don't always know where they have come from where they are headed. Maybe it is just me, but sometimes I wish I could delete words that I have just said kind of like how you can delete your status update on Facebook. If you are my friend on Facebook you are aware that I don't' have much of a filter. I like to endearingly call it "keeping it real" but to be honest pretty much any emotion or thought that I have near a computer just pops out. I am so incredibly thankful that the only social networking that was around when I was a teenager was my parents rotary phone, because that would have been a disaster to share a permanent record of my teenage drama with the world.
I have been more sensitive to the words I speak as I am realizing that my boys are going to be able to remember everything from this point on. No longer can we laugh & say good thing he won't remember, because they.will. Everything. Isn't that a frightening thought? Situations & exchanges that I have with my boys are something that they may someday share with their friends, kids, co-workers! I was remembering that with fresh awareness the other day when I was forcing my child to take a shower so we could wash his hair with tea-tree shampoo the second he walked in the door from school since I had just learned that his school was having a lice outbreak. For this first time elementary student mom the very thought freaked.me.out. So what does any freaked out mom do, but throw their kid in the shower before he had a chance to even take his backpack off (not really that would be a little much) frantically scrubbing the thought of lice away. He didn't & doesn't have it, but hearing it was in the same county as his precious head was enough to set-me off. As we were both crying in the bathroom I was struck with the thought He is never going to forget this moment. Yikes. I so wish I could remember that each time I was about to open my mouth & let a sigh, a frustration or a nag out.
Words have the ability to be so encouraging & uplifting. A kind word from someone can change the entire course of your day. Just as quickly a damaging word can give your shoulders a slump & have your giddy-up loose it's giddy. Thinking about the "power" of words is nothing new to people. I know this. But, for me I think the thought of being mindful before I open my mouth is. I have the verse from James about being "slow to speak" on a post-it & that is something I really want to practice. I want to model that for my boys. I want to be able to not say "No!" right away without really even hearing what they are asking. I also want to model how with some words it is okay for them to come quickly. Words like "I'm sorry & please forgive me." Those are words that I want people in my house to be able to say with quickness & with ease. It's the other 20, 000 words a day that I say that I think I would be wise to speak at a little more of a leisurely pace. A friend & I have " a thing" (all good friends should have a thing) where we try & count to 10 after the other person has finished their thought so we don't run the risk of interrupting them because we both have such fabulous things to say that often our words end up tumbling over one another. Wouldn't it be great if we all started waiting 10 seconds before speaking, replying or scolding. What if we really thought about what we were saying & the impact we wanted our words to have? What if we took that few seconds to think about whether we wanted our words to give life to the other person or if what we were intending to say would have the opposite effect. What if we took those moments to wonder what we would want to hear in that same situation? Maybe it's just me but that " 10-second delay" sounds like one that may be well worth the wait.