- Lauren Dungy
- Shaunti Feldhahn
- Tim and Darcy Kimmel
- Betsy Landers
- Dr. Walt Larimore
- Mark Merrill
- Joanne Miller
- Dr. Gary J. Oliver
- Kathy Peel
- Dr. Greg Smalley
- Dr. Scott Turansky
- Jill Savage
Articles by Dr. Greg Smalley
- Winning Your Husband Back
- Why Teenagers Like to Argue
- Ways to Communicate Effectively
- Watch What You Say or Later You’ll Pay
- The Secret To Protecting Your Marriage From Infidelity
- The Secret to Becoming a Balanced Parent
- The Meaning of Leaving and Cleaving
- The Heart of Marriage
- The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Children is a Strong Marriage
- The Danger of Negative Expectations
- Talking Through the Touchy Subjects
- Six Ways to Build a Friendship with Your Child
- Six Adolescent Needs….Meet Them or Else!
- Protecting Fun Activities from Conflict
- Men and Intimacy
- Is Your Heart Open to Love?
- I Wish My Daddy Was A Dog
- I Feel Loved When You...
- I Don't Love My Husband Anymore
- I Believe in You!
- How to Make Wise Decisions...And Stay in Harmony
- How to Heal a Wounded Heart
- How do my thoughts affect my view of my spouse?
- Home: The Safest Place on Earth
- Helping Teenagers Resist Peer Pressure
- Forget the Weeds in Your Life, Focus on the Flowers
- For The Love of Hannah
- Do I deserve time for myself?
- Communication: 5 Harmful Marriage Communication Habits
- Communication That Can Cause Further Distance
- Becoming a Better Listener
- Become a student of your husband
- A Small Act of Kindness
- 6 Tips for Marital Conflicts Without Casualties
- 5 Ways to Stop Sibling Rivalry
- 4 Parenting Styles
Dr. Greg SmalleyDr. Smalley also helps lead marriage seminars around the world and helps train pastors, professionals and lay leaders how to effectively work with married couples. read bio
Watch What You Say or Later You’ll Pay
"Mommy," young Billy asked his mother on the way to school, "where are all the idiots?"
"What?" his mother said in disbelief, "Where on earth did you learn that?"
Confused by his mother's reaction, young Billy answered, "Yesterday when daddy took me to school we saw five idiots along the way."
What do you say about others in front of your kids? Is it positive or negative? Is it uplifting or does it leave your children with a bitter taste in their mouth? These were questions someone asked me. As I considered them, I became incredibly convicted. Like Billy's father, countless dishonoring words and negative phrases flooded my mind. It's not like I go around calling people idiots or swearing like a sailor. That's not my style. However, the times that I made sarcastic comments or gossiped to my wife – these were the things I thought about. Paul's words in James 3:5-6 are so true, "Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell." That's pretty clear. But you might be thinking, "Come on Greg...What's the big deal?" The problem with what we say in front of our children is twofold.
First, when we gossip or talk negatively about someone in front of our children it can cause insecurity. When our children hear us talking about others, at some level, they begin to wonder what we say about them when they're not present. Gossip breeds insecurity in our loved ones – especially children. This is why our goal should be "loyalty to the absent." In other words, we should strive to honor others with our words (tongues) when they are not present. This creates trust and confidence in our family. If they don't hear you gossiping about others, they will not wonder what you are saying about them when they are not around.
Second, gossip can poison our children. Gossip has the ability to fester deep inside someone, ready to explode at any time. When we talk negatively about people, those little ears listening can begin to take up an offense against that person. When I was young my father used to tell me countless stories about his older brother Ronnie. My Uncle Ronnie would pick on my father, would tease him and do various other dastardly deeds. As you could only imagine, the first time I met my Uncle Ronnie when I was about five, the reception wasn't as positive as Ronnie probably envisioned. After the two brothers warmly embraced, my father introduced me. As my uncle affectionately extended his arms to greet me, I walked up, looked him right in the eyes, and shouted, "This for my daddy!", punching him square in the gut. Vengeance had been mine! Oddly enough, Uncle Ronnie and I were never that close.
My experience with Uncle Ronnie reminds me why I shouldn't gossip in front of my children. Not only can it foster insecurity, but it can pollute the relationship between that person and my children. I do not want my children to take up an offense against others. Instead, through my words, my desire is "loyalty to the absent" and to be a blessing to everyone.
Here's how we should conduct ourselves when others are absent:
1. Honor people with your words and behavior.
2. Brag about others to your children, it helps positively shape their relationship.
3. If you are frustrated with someone, do not use names if you vent and those little ears are listening.
4. When you do gossip in front of the kids, admit your mistake and seek forgiveness from your children and the person you talked about.comments powered by Disqus