You Play Like You Practice

All summer long around here we've been talking about words. We've been working on tone of voice. We've been trying to change the tone of the conversation in our house.

I've tried sending the girls outside when they can't speak nicely to one another. I've sent them to separate rooms. I've talked until I'm blue in the face about how important our words are. I've offered up object lesson after object lesson.I've prayed with them and for them.

And I've made just about as much progress as a snail. I feel as if I'm repeatedly banging my head against a brick wall when it comes to this topic.

So, last night I decided to take one more stab at getting my point across. We sat down to dinner with the blackboard circles on the wall filled with the words THINK before you speak.

THINK is an acrostic. It stands for questions we should ask ourselves before we open our mouths.

T stands for "Is it true?"

H stands for "Is it helpful?"

I stands for "Is it inspiring?"

N stands for "Is it necessary?"

K stands for "Is it kind?"

As I went over these questions with my girls, we talked about each one. We talked about how God wants our words to lift each other up (Ephesians 4:29).

I also spent some time talking with my younger daughter about the importance of not using words that don't meet the THINK standard even in our play. Too often, she will say mean things, then say, "But I was only playing."

At hockey practice, her coaches always tell the kids, "You play like you practice." The same is true with our words. If we allow ourselves to use words that don't meet the THINK standard when we're not being serious, then we'll use those same words in a real-life situation. We're training our brains how to think.

So, if you find your kids using language that doesn't meet the THINK standard while they are playing, remind them that play is practice for life -- and when it comes to our words, we play like we practice.

We're planning to use THINK as a catchword around here. Any time someone starts to say something that doesn't meet the standard, we are going to remind them to THINK before they speak.

If you're having the same struggles at your house, you can print off the THINK sign to hang on the wall of your home to remind your kids to THINK before they speak.

It's hard to believe it's almost time for back to school. Join us starting on Monday for a great series on having "The Best School Year Ever." You won't want to miss it.

Linking up today with Denise in Bloom.