Since you are reading this, it’s likely you’re an adult. Therefore, I will assume that you are able to listen to a conversation and know what is OK to repeat, what isn’t, what to imitate, what to avoid. But perhaps you have forgotten that you were not born with that skill and there are tiny humans around that have not yet developed that skill.
I have the privilege of teaching bible study after school to 2nd and 3rd graders and I am alarmed by some of the things that come out of their mouths. It’s as if a grown man or woman is taking over a child’s body and saying things far too mature.
Today I had a particularly hard incident with a child who seems to be living with an adult with self-harm tendencies. He appears to be repeating the alarming things that that adult is saying in his presence. This presents a major problem.
#1: I can’t react to the outlandish things being said by this child. As I have several kids who act out, when they recognize that a certain behavior (or word) gets a rise out of me, they’ll jump on the band wagon and give it a try themselves.
#2: Sometimes regardless of my reaction, devious language spreads faster than the flu and suddenly every kid in the classroom has taken the terrible words for a spin.
Typically the kids who create the most waves are the ones in need of the most help and attention. Unfortunately, these are the kids who are going to get removed from a program like mine because they are causing too much harm to the kids around them.
Please be aware of your surroundings. Kids are always listening. When you walk down the grocery aisle, don’t tell a story that you’d blush to hear a 5 year-old repeat.
When you’re waiting in a doctors office, they may look like they are innocently distracted by a toy but they are always listening.
Please join me in praying that we might all gain some cognizance of the people around us and what little ears might be overhearing.