What part of (fill in blank here) do you not understand?
There are times in life that we ask questions that are rhetorical in nature and really meant to show dominance or superiority. I’ve heard adults use this among other adults and it is usually done in a confrontational way. However, hearing this same question directed towards a child makes me cringe. It seems like an adult, being a much more experienced wordsmith, should be able to use their vocabulary skills to completely restructure a question in order to help the child understand what is truly being asked.
There is power in the tongue and it truly does have the ability to give life or death, blessing or cursing, encouragement or discouragement. Those principles come from God’s word and I think He really expects us to be “(His) word smart,” smart with words, or smart enough to know better. There is also a little irony that the definition of smart includes the verb: to be a source of sharp, local, and usually superficial pain, as a wound. The adjective use of the word smart: having or showing quick intelligence or ready mental capability.
It doesn’t take much to understand how important it is to make smart word choices. Our vocabulary should continue to grow so that we have a better understanding of our language and therefore develop better skills in our communications.
Aside from what God has said about our words, haven’t we all been in situations where words were slung at us in an irresponsible manner causing us pain, grief, or discouragement? As an adult we can often shake those words off and move on. However, a child often hears words irresponsibly spoken to them at a young age and then carries the affects throughout life. Words then become baggage loaded down with the questions of self-worth, inferiority, or even importance. Then that baggage makes relationships and marriages crumble unexpectedly. The type of baggage carried both tattered and torn with abuse, hardship, and defeat. All because an adult wasn’t very word smart or because they themselves never grasped the idea that words can also smart.
Wordsmiths use words to craft sentences and paint pictures that leave lasting impressions. Unfortunately, those who would not be considered a wordsmith also leave lasting impressions because they aren’t word smart, use smart words, or just basically not smart at all when it comes to treating others kindly, compassionately, or respectfully.
Be smart with words! The affects can be life-changing for some, and for others life-saving.