Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: SLIP OF THE TONGUE (01/26/17)
- TITLE: Words that hurt or heal?
By Trudy Newell
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I fought back the tears, as I saw what my words had done to Jason. So much for the old cliché “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” The look on Jason’s face told me differently.
It was great that my then six-year old son picked healthy foods. Tomatoes were one of his favorites.
Time and again I reminded him, “Don’t eat tomatoes until you check with mommy.”
But every time we had spaghetti, there would be no tomatoes to put in the salad.
That day I came home exhausted. I arrived at the house a bit late with a sick headache.
“This will be a spaghetti night,” I told myself walking in the back door from the garage.
When I came into the kitchen, there was Jason eating the last of the tomatoes to put in the salad. His love for tomatoes, especially the cherry tomatoes he had just polished off, had overcome his desire to please mommy.
“Jason, what in the world do you think you are doing?” I scolded. “How many times do I have to tell you to leave the tomatoes alone!”
Jason scrunched up his face, and ran to his bedroom slamming the door.
Not acceptable! Jason needed a strong reminder that mommy was in charge. But I had shouted at him in a voice that was anything but gracious. I was scolding him in anger.
“Lord,” I sighed, “When will I ever get this parenting thing right. I have less than a minute to sort this out with Jason. I’m not very good at this. Help me to both apologize and make him understand that he needs to do what I tell him.”
I crept to his bedroom door and knocked.
“Jason, it’s mommy.”
Muffled sobs, but no answer.
I walk in and sat beside him on the bed where he lay.
“Jason, I’m sorry I yelled at you. That wasn’t very nice. I love you, and always will.”
I hugged him. Jason sat up and hugged me back.
“Look, I was wrong to yell at you, but you were wrong to run away and slam the door when I was talking to you. You need to remember and do what mommy says. God expects you to obey.”
Kids are so forgiving, and Jason smiled at me. “Sorry, mom.” Just like a big kid!
I have always had trouble with my words. My mouth moves quicker than my brain, and out comes words that hurt instead of heal.
I’ve learned to pray every day Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” It really works!
Thirty years later my mouth is not as big a challenge as it was when I came home from work that day.
I sit across from my grandson, JJ, on a winter afternoon. Down the hall his mother is resting with his new baby sister, Laurie.
Jason Jr. is busy popping cherry tomatoes into his mouth one after the other from a veggie tray brought in by a family in the church.
I look at my son, and he gives me a knowing grin.
“Like father, like son,” I giggle.
“JJ, better leave some for mommy.” I say.
His dad looks at me. “Do you remember that evening…”
“You mean when I yelled at you because there were no tomatoes for the salad to go with our spaghetti.” I laugh.
“Yep. Good thing I’m better at editing my words than you are. It keeps me out of trouble!”
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