When raising children, we often forget that little pitchers have big ears, as the old saying goes, and far too often we say things in their presence that might be better left unsaid until the adults are alone. In a world where there is altogether too much fighting and too many verbal disagreements, it’s important to teach our children to be moderate in their speech to, and around, others. What they learn now will stay with them throughout their lives so it is vital that we teach by example as well as by word. Many times we speak before we know the truth.
Words Cut So Use Them Carefully
One of the lessons which so many children were not taught early on in life is that words do cut. Many mothers try to soothe their wounded children’s feelings after a spat with a friend with the time-worn phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” While it may help to ease their wounded pride a bit in the moment, it’s really not a very good lesson to be teaching them. In fact, words can cut to the bone and hurt in ways that even physical pain can’t touch.
Teaching Respect for Others’ Faith
You have heard it said a million times if you’ve heard it said once that you “never discuss religion and politics” with anyone except friends and family, and even then only in moderation. People are very sensitive about their religious beliefs and also about the political candidates they support so it is prudent to learn when you can speak and when it is better to remain silent. In fact, over the years there have been a ton of misconceptions about Catholicism and children hear their parents discussing these things. They then repeat what they hear to a friend who tells his or her mother and the battle is on. No more playtime for Jimmy and Johnnie and all because mom had a misconception she didn’t bother to check the validity of, for example.
One Common Misconception of Catholicism
One of the most common misconceptions of Catholicism is that Catholics believe Mary, mother of Jesus, performs miracles in and of herself. In actuality, Catholics pray to Mary to intercede with her son, Jesus, because they believe any loving son responds favorably to his mother and also because they feel they are not worthy to step before the presence of the Lord. Praying ‘to’ Mary for miracles is totally different than calling Mary holy and asking her to intercede. When other faiths and denominations accuse Catholics of looking to Mary as a god or goddess it is very disconcerting and hurtful and causes more fights than you can count on all your fingers and toes today and every day for the rest of your life.
The child-rearing philosophy of “Do as I say, not as I do” is long dead. It is far better to lead by example than by word because any other method is teaching deceit. There are common misconceptions about many things in life so it is always better to remain silent until you have all the facts. That’s one of the best ‘life lessons’ you can ever teach your kids.