Parenting Lessons: Words vs. Actions

Whoever said, “Actions speak louder than words” obviously had children. How do I know this? Because the two little people who showed up on our doorstep one day and call me “MO-OM!” have made me painfully aware of every little thing I do.

I see my own actions in the way they talk to each other, in the words they use and more importantly, in the tone of voice they speak with. If they are more whiny or harsh than usual, it’s a good sign that I’m being more whiny and harsh than usual. Also, if they are being extra considerate and kind, it’s likely because hubby is home and treating them with consideration and kindness (and I am out doing some retail therapy, haha).

But something C said to me the other day really stopped me in my tracks. E and hubby were playing Mario downstairs and she had asked me to go upstairs with her to get a toy. As we were walking up the steps, I heard her sweet, innocent voice ask, “Do you want to do some work, Mom? I won’t bother you.”

I turned to her and immediately replied, “You don’t bother me! No, I don’t want to do work. We can snuggle!”

Her whole face lit up as if someone had turned on a fountain inside her body. Joy bubbled up and brightened her big brown eyes and her voice climbed up an octave. “Snuggle?! Okay!”

She grabbed my hand and soon after we sat on the couch with our arms wrapped around each other. No words, just a sweet time of being together.

That conversation with C made me think of just how much of what I say and do gets ingrained into her thoughts and beliefs. I cringe right now as I wonder how she got the notion in her head that she could be a bother to me. I don’t want my kids to ever think they burden, annoy or inconvenience me. But if you were to peek inside my heart during any given day, you would see the impatience and resentment I harbor there. And how those emotions spill out sometimes when I’m tired or frustrated. Which explains why C assumed I would rather spend time with a computer screen than with her.

Yikes. What a good wake up call.

There’s a verse from Proverbs that says:



It occurred to me that training up a child involves as much what we say as what we do. Do we emphasize the importance of listening, but pay more attention to our phones than our kids? Do we want our kids to understand grace and forgiveness, but criticize them when they do wrong? Do we tell kids to love each other, but neglect to spend time with them?

I am so guilty of all this and more! But I am also thankful for the chances I have to be made aware of my shortcomings. And to keep trying and growing into a better, more loving and gracious parent. A parent that E and C need and deserve.

This song by Steven Curtis Chapman, “One Little Heartbeat at a Time” is just what a tired mom needs to hear. 🙂

How do you use your words and actions to influence the kids in your life?


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