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One of the best things I have done as a parent was to create what I call a language filter in our home. The language filter is the sieve through which everything said is filtered. The language filter requires us to be more mindful of the things we say, and in turn, when it is used properly, it keeps damage from being done in relationships.
As you can imagine, there is constant talking in a home where there are many children who are home all day, every day, for the most part. Generally, my kids are all great friends, playmates, and teammates, but of course those times do arise where there is conflict.
Learning to control our tongues is a learned skill, and it is often a skill that is ongoing. The Bible compares our mouths to a two-edged sword, and I couldn’t agree more.
Haven’t there been times when we have all been the victim of harsh words? Haven’t we all been on both sides of the spectrum here – the one to spew the ugliness and the one who has been covered by ugliness that has wounded us to our core?
One of the most repeated phrases around here is our language filter:
If my kids, or even their parents, cannot answer yes to all three, then it is not something that should be said. So often I find that catchy little phrases like this are the ones that stick with kids. They are the ones that our kids hear us saying in their minds even when we are nowhere around.
When I hear unkind words start to come out of someone’s mouth, I am quick to interrupt with, “Is it kind?” And then whomever it is fills in the rest of the blanks, and most times, they no longer continue with what they were in the middle of saying.
In this way, the language filter has completely served its purpose.
Of course these concepts apply not only when our kids are interacting with one another, but also as they go outside of the four walls of our home. Applying this same language filter to everyone they interact with will only benefit them, and what a benefit that is to our kids.
We all need language filters, usually every day since we are all selfish people first and foremost. We can all want what we want, when we want it, and how we want it, and we can often communicate in a way that is less than pretty.
Feel free to use our language filter or develop one of your own, but you will be so thankful you took the time to create and implement your family language filter.