Two of the Most Damaging Words to Say to a Teen

Susan Greenwood's picture

Words are tricky. They have different meanings in different circles, inflections can alter intent (or even definition in some countries) and their omission often speaks louder than the words themselves.
Words are power and some words are more powerful than others.
Two words that I have found to be quite powerful are, “We’ll see.” They may not seem like much and in the right context, with the right inflection, they can actually offer hope. However, these two simple words have the capacity to inflict major damage. Here is a story that will help illustrate what I mean.

Laura loves church camp. She’s gone every year since 5th grade. She has formed lifelong friendships with teens from across the country, learned to climb the face of a rock and (her favorite part) get’s to be family free for two whole weeks.
It’s the best part of her summer. Actually, it’s the best part of her year.
This year, Laura almost lost the opportunity to go due to excessive “mouthiness” with her mom. “Just lay low ‘til camp,” she kept telling herself. And it worked, she got to go.
During camp, God was more real to Laura than ever before. She realized her behavior was not reflective of her decision to follow Christ years ago; so, she rededicated her life to Him. Laura was full of joy, her countenance was peaceful, positive and light, and she was ready to start living for God. She could hardly wait for her family to see how God had changed her.
On the way home, Laura told her mom all that happened at camp and her decision to follow Christ and her promise to be different.
“We’ll see.” her mom quipped.
                And with that, Laura was done.
The power of words.
Here are two “musts” we can take from this:

  1. We must believe that God can truly change our child’s heart. It is our job to nurture and train our children in the ways of the Lord and in doing so, we must  believe God can work in their lives. In doing so, we must be prepared to forget the past and embrace today. Ask yourself-what is God doing in my child’s heart today and how can I encourage them on this path? (Proverbs 6:4; Colossians 3:21).
  2. We must prepare our children for negativity that comes from being a follower of Jesus Christ and/or being judged by their old habits. Let them know that it is not a matter of “if” but “when.” Encourage them to use this negativity or opposition as motivation to allow God to shine through them instead of allowing people to discourage them. (Romans 8:31-39).

How about you? Have you encountered this in your own life? Have you been discouraged by the words of others? Have you been the discourager? Either way, give it God. Allow Him to use you and your words to heal and encourage.
Ephesians 4:29 


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