Something simple that I thought of the other day … my quality of life would be exponentially better if I asked myself one question before I spoke, “Does this actually need to be said?”

Think before you speak. (Ephesians 5:2-4)

Slow to speak, and quick to listen. (James 1:19)

God gave you two ears and one mouth. (biology)

We know these things, but I really notice it when dealing with my kids. I’m a broken record. And I’ve been asking myself, “Who is this broken-record thing really about?”

When I’m trying to be a human post-it note or a verbal iCal reminder, I’m not sure the results are what I’m actually going for. Yes, I feel better reminding them they are going to be late, or repeatedly telling them to do their laundry. I feel an internal urge to make sure certain things are said, but I’m trying to filter those mom-moments through two internal questions:

1. Have I already said something once?

We all need reminders. But do we need twenty reminders? Because we all also need … and this is to my second filtering reflection …

2. Will the consequences be a better teacher than my words?

Even if it’s a repeat consequence, something that has to happen a dozen or so times, or even if it’s a consequence that they may not realize until way down the road, will allowing things to unfold post already doing my parenting portion benefit them greater than my nagging?

I was listening to a podcast a while back, and they remarked that parents of teens need to shift from being a “parent” to being “coach,” highlighting the difference between how we set up our teens toward independence.

At dinner with a friend, possibly venting about “training up a child,” she kindly remarked, “It’s time to start letting them struggle.”

I mean … yeah … I know that, sure. It’s just that when you hear the repeated phrases in my home, it’s going to be an interesting transition without my voice in their ears. And that day is coming. Soon.

Each child is unique. Each age is different. Each person matures at a different pace, in different pockets of life. But each statement should also have a point. And I should be able to recognize if my comments are for my benefit or theirs.

Does this actually need to be said?

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