Commotion drew me outside in time to see her golden curls fly past in a swirl of giggles. He charged from around the corner, bow and arrow in hand, angry eyes glaring from Crayola war paint.
“You doo-doo head!” he spewed with all the venom he could muster. Hardly qualifying as profane, it was, nevertheless, the only curse he could conjure. Stifling the temptation to erupt in laughter, I gathered my wits, my warrior, and my little maid and sat down to deal with this war of words. When it comes to women, manly values find their voice in the words of a boy. When we steer a boy’s words, we shape a man’s values.
Words Reflect the Heart.
“Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks,” (Luke 6:45b). A growing number of modern men place little value on modern women. Base attitudes show in casual profanity towards females and acceptance of violence towards women. When small sons lash out verbally towards little girls or women in their lives, correction provides the redirection they need. Instead of shaming or ignoring boyish attempts to express feelings, let’s speak truth to our sons and call curses what they are. “That’s a harsh name to use. She is treasure made by God. Only use names that bless her, not words that curse her. If she has offended you, let’s use thoughtful words to explain that, but let’s not attack with our words.”
Words Direct the Heart. Name-calling loses its innocence when it sets a precedent for minimizing others or exerting control through cutting language. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person,” (Colossians 4:6). Like a path trodden into a well-worn rut, habitual words have a way of carving a groove in a boy’s attitude. A mouth accustomed to crude words in addressing or describing females will mature into a heart with little respect for women.
When disrespectful words find a home in our mouths, disrespectful thoughts find a home in our hearts.
Abusive Actions Follow Crude Conversations.
“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving,” (Ephesians 5:4).
If we want to nurture respect in the hearts of tomorrow’s men, we need to listen to the words of today’s boys. The words our boy chooses guide the values he uses.
It’s been a long time since my little painted warrior raced around the yard spouting nicknames for arrows. He’s a work in progress, and I’m still listening for insights into his heart and teaching him to treat the women in his world well. Boys who practice using words of worth grow into men who treat women with worth. As we steer his words, we shape his values.
Lord, would you help me to:
- Listen to the words my boy chooses to use toward the girls in his life?
- Guide his word choice to reflect the value You place on women?
- Model respectful words when referring to myself, my boy, and others? ~ Amen
Consider these resources:
- A glossary of terms used in modern day human trafficking
- 65 Bible verses about speech
- Encouragement for you for When Mom’s Words Hurt
Julie Sanders loves to teach God’s word and encourage women, because she was blessed to have seasoned moms walk the motherhood journey with her. The youngest of her two nearly-grown kids, son Jacob, has made Julie catch her breath, fill with joy, and drop to her knees time and time again. Not a day goes by when she is not thankful that despite her failures, “grace abounded much more” (Rom. 5:20). Julie is the Executive Director of Street Hope TN, working against sex trafficking of children. She is also the author of Expectant: 40 Devotions for New and Expectant Moms and she blogs at Come Have a Peace.