A Little Less Talk

Have you ever heard of the phrase “Actions speak louder than words”? This little piece of advice is good to keep in mind, especially at home.

Today, I am reading in the book of 1 John 3:8, it says, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

We have all heard “actions speak louder than words,” and this verse reflects that phrase. It is applicable in instances where our part is required in order to help out someone in need. Something I have asked myself for years is this:  Why is it so easy to help someone outside our family and far harder to help someone in our family? True confessions? I have been known to be kinder to the checker at Walmart than I can be to my own children.

Funny thing: I know when I act this way my kids know that my priorities are somewhere else.

The most obvious place where this wisdom should take form is in how we spend our time. It’s easy to say, “You’re the most important part of my life” to my spouse or to my children. But if I don’t demonstrate what I say in my actions when I’m with them, then my words are meaningless. Have you ever said something “meaningless?”  Most of us have.

Meaningless creeps up on us, too. Many times when we say things to our children out of exhaustion or because we’re “fed up” but we don’t follow through. Sometimes that can be with discipline (which definitely still regards the fact actions speak louder than words) and sometimes it’s as simple as promising our kids we’ll read to them “tomorrow.”

It is so important to love our children with  not only with our words but also with our actions, because your kids are listening to you AND are watching you. When they are grown, they’ll leave your home (I guarantee it) and they will remember what you said and did. Those actions, or lack of, really do speak louder than words.

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It is important for us to remember life isn’t perfect, but there are trade-offs we need to make. It is important to keep the appropriate balance. Everyone has to work for a living, and sometimes it can take up most of your waking time. Often there’s nothing you can do about it. When that happens, communicate with your kids. Let them know. If you made a promise and you can’t keep it, go to them.

At the end of the day, your kids will follow your example, not your advice.

That happened to me just this afternoon. I told my daughter that I would take her to the Dollar Store earlier in the day. For some reason, the Dollar Store is her favorite place in the whole wide world. As the day went along, things went “off plan.” Something came up and I wasn’t able to do it.

Secretly, I hoped she would forget.  But, she didn’t. Guilt finally got the best of me. I went upstairs, looked her right in the eye, and said, “Sweetheart, I know I told you I’d take you today, but this (thing) came up and I can’t do it. I will take you tomorrow. Is that okay?” Because she knows that I will make good on my promise, she was confident in the promise I made to her.

However, I’ve learned that if I repeatedly say something but don’t do it, my words will carry very little weight. Our children deserve honesty.

If you’re struggling today with having your actions speak louder than your words, I want to encourage you to follow the truth in 1 John 3:18, “let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

Teach your children that you are trustworthy. Life doesn’t have to go according to plan for you to be the mom your children need you to be. A little less talk—a lot more action. That’s what they need.

 

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Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John has been married to her husband Jay since 1989. Together they have seven children from toddler to adult and have homeschooled all the way through high school. A favorite conference and radio speaker, Heidi approaches marriage and parenting with humor and grace. Her passion to encourage moms and set them free to be who God has created them to be will bless and encourage you.
Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John

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