Of all the things a child hears a parent say, some phrases get repeated again and again:
“Don’t tease your sister.”
“That sofa was not designed to be used as a weapon.”
“If you pee in the pool, all the water around you will turn blue.”
As a child, I lived in such tremendous fear of the pool water turning blue, I never tested the theory out. As for sofa weaponry and sister teasing, that was a different story.
Of course, once you become a parent, it doesn’t take long to find yourself saying things you never thought you’d say, and saying some of them over and over again.
Other phrases also got repeated:
“Do your best, no matter what.”
“Respect people in authority.”
“Remember your manners.”
When my parents repeated those things, they directly shaped my character. Repeating them again and again left a deep impression on me.
As a parent, you are a sage voice for an impressionable life. If you don’t impart the right wisdom at the right time, it creates a vacuum in a child or teen’s life that’s hard to fill any other way.
And if you’re like me, you probably sometimes feel the pressure to say the right thing, but you’re not sure whether you know the right words.
You want to talk to your son about wisdom but are not sure how to approach it.
You want to talk to your daughter about sex but are not sure what to say (who is?).
You want to give good relational advice but can’t seem to make your point stick.
One of the best ways to get through that struggle is to recycle words and ideas. That’s right—borrow phrases others have created and use them in your home again and again.
Here are a few that have really stuck with me:
“Purity paves the way to intimacy.”
“Make the wise choice.”
“Your friends determine the direction and quality of your life.”
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
“Your decisions today impact your destiny tomorrow.”
You know where I got those phrases? From our church. Other people wrote them. But they’re memorable. Sticky. And powerful. As a parent, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to sharing with your kids the things that matter most. In fact, when you begin to say the same thing in the same way someone else is saying it, you have a greater impact.
In fact, when other people in your kids’ life say the same thing the same way, the idea gains traction.
What phrases can you recycle as a parent that can help your kids win?