Reflection: Growing up, the third child out of four, my father was very worried about how I would survive in the big wide world. I wore my heart on my sleeve, and he was convinced life would crush me. I had to be better equipped. So he teased me to toughen me up. And it worked. I could come up with the clever put-downs with the best of them. I learned how to shut down my feelings and to put on the mask of confidence.
But just stop for a minute and think about what happens when clever repartee and one upmanship are flying around the room.
I can tell you. I began my career in commercial radio news. A newsroom was not for the faint hearted! The wit flowed. One biting barb after another. Each potentially finding its hidden mark – piercing someone’s external armour going straight to their heart, but could we see the damage? Of course not. We all tried to out-tough the next one.
We were inflicting death, not life, but we thought ourselves so clever!
Question: What environments or people flick a switch inside you, leading you to let loose that damaging tongue? How might you address this behaviour?
Prayer: Creator God, I do not want to speak death through my mouth. I want to affirm life. Give me the courage to look deep inside at the feelings and emotions that trigger bad behaviours and damaging words. And help me to keep trying, as this is so important.