I see this and it makes me ashamed of some of the things that I have said to my kid. Things I've said in the heat of intense frustration, anger. Not that I've ever said anything abusive to either of my boys. But I absolutely have said things that I wouldn't want them to say to anyone else. And particularly things I absolutely wouldn't want them to ever say to themselves.
I remember the exact moment when I decided I was a lousy speller and always would be. It's the one and only time I ever remember my father doing any kind of school work with me. I was maybe 7. It was a word find, and I was struggling (for whatever reason - probably because it was dinner time and/or I simply found it boring). He said, out of frustration by my inattention, "are you so stupid that you can't even do something as simple as this??!!". And instantly I shut down. And I knew there was something wrong with me, that I couldn't accomplish this obviously easy task.
In 6th grade I got an F in Spelling. It's the only F I've ever gotten. To this day the tape that plays in my head, and promptly comes out my mouth whenever anyone asks how something is spelled, is "I can't spell". It's an immediate response. And even though I can rationally explain to myself that I am indeed capable of spelling, this belief, well, it persists.
This saying, to me, says it all. I'm not saying I don't struggle with this, because heaven knows I do. Which, really, is why I posted it. I need this reminder. I need to have this reminder play through my head before I react in frustration and say something I shouldn't to my children. I need to have this reminder even in the moments I'm not frustrated. I need to be reminded that what I say does matter to them. Even when I think they aren't listening. They are listening.
The things we say stick. Particularly when they're said by someone who is important in our lives. Someone we love. Someone we trust. What we say matters. What we say becomes the tape that plays. It becomes the inner voice our children hear. All. The. Time.
And the voice I want my children to hear is one that says "I am loved. I am loving. I am capable. I am compassionate. I know how to make good decisions. I am trustworthy. I am intelligent. I am good.". Because all of those things are so very true.