Words of Life


Abby Norman -Words of Life3

Words of life! WORDS OF LIIIIFE!! This is what my father used to shout at us when things got a little snippy around our house. This wasn’t just a one-time thing. He shouted it so often at us, we now raise our eyebrows and say it to each other, just a little warning that you maybe need to change your tone. My father got it into our heads that there were words that spoke life over each other, and it was our job to choose those words. We still try to speak life to each other.

These are not the first words my dad taught us. My mom likes to tell us that my father quit watching football when my oldest sister learned all the words he shouted when his team screwed up. My dad likes to say he never really liked football anyway.

With two daughters of my own, I know that my words–like my father’s–are constantly being amplified. They are being repeated by my six- and seven-year-old girls, and I don’t always love what I am hearing.

My youngest is quick-witted (I think she gets that from me.) I’m sure the eye rolling she gets from me, and probably the need to say a thing because it is clever, even if it is not the kindest thing she could say in the moment.

My oldest has the innate ability to say the kindest things and really mean them. She also has the ability to say the thing every single person in the room noticed, but everyone else knows you are not supposed to say. She doesn’t mean to be unkind. She is just noticing. She also has the tendency to voice her fears when she is afraid she won’t get enough, or won’t get her turn.

Just as my sisters and I amplified the voices we heard all throughout our home, my daughters amplify the ways in which I use my voice. What am I saying that I hope they repeat to each other as a reminder? What am I hearing from them, that I know is from me, that I wish I did not hear so often?

It isn’t easy to have these tiny amplifiers in my life, but it is a gift. Every time I hear my words come back at me, I can decide whether or not this is something I should be saying. I get to decide what I want my kids to say about me, what they will remember about the things that came out of my mouth.

At the end of the day, I hope I amplify words of life.