I recently read an article about helping children become young evangelists (Thank you Jen Wilken). But instead of emphasizing a whole list of verses that they ought to memorize, the author suggested that there are five kinds of words that our God honoring kids ought to be taught. Those words then become the basis of their sharing the love of God with others.
The first suggestion was that we should train our kids to be fluent in KIND WORDS. The idea is that they should be taught to ignore the sarcastic, bullying kind of words they frequently hear on the playground and instead bombard their friends with gentle, affirming words.
Those words might be “Great job,” “Way to go,” “We sure needed that,” “I like the way you do that,” and so on. Humorously, I just read that UCLA recently received 20 million dollars to establish a formal Kindness Institute. Maybe what we really need is to start with the basic vocabulary of our kids.
This article also suggested that kids be taught RECONCILING WORDS. They need to learn very early on that any relationship is sweeter when the two people have been taught to say “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you.” These are powerful terms that suggest a humility that is really lacking in our society.
The third vocabulary recommended was referred as SLOW WORDS. The idea was to help kids understand that ‘slow words’ are less angry. They give us time to think, time to consider the other guy.
And then it was suggested that kids learn HOSPITABLE WORDS. These phrases are things like, “Want to come over to my house and play?” or maybe “I have some extra Cheetos for lunch, want to share?”
And finally, it was suggested that these would-be-evangelists need to be also fluent in ETERNAL WORDS. We need to give them a background in basic Bible literacy, a working understanding of how the scripture unfolds and a love for God’s Word. Armed with those concepts, our kids will be able to share the love of the Lord and invite others into a saving knowledge of Christ.
But as I thought about this interesting article, I realized that these same words and phrases need to be the scaffolding of all our conversations. Every adult needs to camp on kind words, at home or at the office. We need to remind ourselves regularly of the power of saying we are sorry (and meaning it). We do need to slow down our conversations and pause our retorts.
Hospitality isn’t just for kids. Our worlds would be sweeter if we mastered the art of caring and sharing. And of course, knowing the words that speak life for eternity’s sake is critical.
So, this week, maybe we all ought to review our own vocabulary. Let’s be on the watch for those key phrases that will freshen our relationships and enrich our witness. Sharing your Cheetos would be a nice touch too!