Mothers through the generations have told their children that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. It’s sage advice and something that teaches us many lessons about how we should communicate with others. The following is from the introduction of my newest communication study, Say What You Mean for Moms, the first in a series of communication studies for parents which you may pre order today at a 30% discount!
Three of the most important lessons learned from mom’s old saying:
1. We should strive for our communication to be grace-filled
2. We should think before we speak.
3. We should be purposeful in how we communicate…which brings me to a technique people have adopted of late that sounds good, but just flat isn’t true. It’s what I call The Spaghetti Test Method of Communication.
I was talking with a friend of mine about how so few people understand the incredible value of learning to communicate effectively when she made a comment that reminded me of something my mother taught me about cooking. She said, “there is a trend today of just ‘putting it out there’ and laying the responsibility on the listener to discern your meaning. And if you don’t. . . well, doom on you!”
This illustration reminded me of the old spaghetti test to determine whether or not it was done. Mom told me that women used to throw spaghetti up against the wall to see if it would stick. If it did, it was done. I remember thinking that either way, you’d have a messy wall to clean up!
The same can be said of throwing our communication out there in order to see what sticks. I’ve seen so many popular memes on Facebook lately that tout the idea that you should say whatever you want and let the chips fall where they may. It may sound empowering, but it’s a myth. It’s not empowering at all.
The idea is to speak your mind and the “people who matter won’t mind and the people who mind, don’t matter.” I wrote an entire article on this one false premise, but suffice it to say that those who matter may, indeed mind the way you put things and those who mind matter to God. If God had wanted us to say exactly what we wanted any old way we wanted to, why would He caution us about how we communication so many times in the Bible?
“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” -Colossians 4:6
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” -Ephesians 4:29
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” -Matthew 15:11
“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.” -Proverbs 18:2
“An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of the citadel.” -Proverbs 18:19
Remember that when you throw your communication out there like spaghetti on a wall to see what sticks, you make a messy wall you may have to spend an entire lifetime cleaning up! Learning how to communicate effectively is preferable to becoming a chattering fool. Remember what Proverbs 10:8 says, “The wise in heart accepts commands, but the chattering fool comes to ruin.” Check out our most requested title, Say What You Mean for Moms and learn how to communicate effectively with your children so you aren’t throwing spaghetti up on their wall.
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