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Teach your kids to THINK before they speak

Use the THINK before you speak rules to teach kids how to interact with family and friends
Use the THINK before you speak rules to teach kids how to interact with family and friends
Sandy Wallace

An important role of parents is to teach kids to be kind to others. Whether your kids are toddlers, 'tweens or teens, kindness matters. Christian parents often use the Bible to teach their children. The Bible is filled with references to speaking kindly. An often-quoted verse from Proverbs 16:24 states:

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Use the THINK before you speak rule in your home to teach kids to use kind words when talking to others. THINK is an acronym for true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind. Before you speak, ask yourself if what you plan to say fits all five of these rules.

Is it true? Whether you're talking about a family member, friend or stranger, speak in truth. In Ephesians 4:15, we are told:

But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

Is it helpful? As Christians, we are called to help others. In 1 John 3:17, we are reminded:

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Is it inspiring? Christians provide encouragement and inspiration to one another. Proverbs 25:11 tells us:

Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.

Is it necessary? We often talk unnecessarily in ways including gossip, untruths and rumors. In 1 Corinthians 14:19, we learn:

However, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Is it kind? Teaching kids to be kind may be the most difficult of the five. The world seems filled with unkind people and actions. In Ephesians 4:32, we are told:

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Parents teach their children by example. When asked by a scribe which commandment was most important, Mark 12:30-31 tells us Christ responded:

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

Parents are the first and best teachers of their children. If you run the THINK before you speak rule through your head before speaking, your own actions and words will teach your kids to THINK before they speak.