The mouth can get you into so much trouble. That small organ on the body called the tongue has caused many problems, not only in our relationships but in all of world history. Have you ever seen the rudder of a ship? Huge ships are directed by a small rudder. Our mouths are like our rudders. As a dad, you must learn to watch your words. We can build people up with encouragement—and we can deliver cursing with the same tongue.
As dads, we can go for the jugular or not. How we speak to our kids matters. The tongue has power in your fatherhood. Can we tame it? Yes, we can learn to watch our words as dads. We can tame our tongues by remembering the word TAME. Here are 4 ways to tame your tongue as a dad.
T: Think before you speak.
Make a plan so you avoid making things worse. As a dad, you have power in how you speak. You know what can cut to your kids’ hearts. Be careful with this power. As an athlete, I know how to strategize. I strategize over everything from workouts to what I eat. As a dad, you must learn to think before you speak.
The next argument is coming. What will you do?
A: Apologize early and often.
What happens when you don’t watch your words before you speak? You need to apologize at some point! Apologize quickly and correct things that you do wrong. Apologizing restores the relationship. Do you want to win that argument, or do you want to have peace in your home? When you discipline your child, whatever feelings you may have at the moment, work toward not harboring that emotion long after the discipline is done. Apologizing has the benefit of creating a peaceful home, and you’ll be modeling how your kids should live in the right relationship with others.
When’s the last time you apologized?
M: Make a decision to do things differently.
Knowing is part of the battle. We must be disciplined to do what we know. My wife, Kirsten, once told me, “Benjamin, you train in the heat. You eat right. You do all of these things to play football.” You work hard at what’s important. Being a dad takes work. My wife was kindly telling me to take the same energy I put toward football on the field and use it in the home to build our family up.
What do your kids see when you’re angry?
E: Engage with a community.The dad who misuses his words in anger raises kids who do the same.
Once you’ve made the decision to do things differently, it’s time you connect with others in a community, so you can keep learning. For us, we find community in our church group. You can learn a lot from other people’s failures and successes. We should learn to do life together and engage with others. We need to be willing to connect and get help and to help others.
Your words matter as a dad. They have the power of life for your kids. Learn to watch your words—to tame your tongue. The dad who misuses his words in anger raises kids who do the same. I hope you will become the dad who watches his words.
Sound off: Which of these four ways to watch your words do you need to work on the most?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are the best and worst parts of apologizing?”