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The Words We Speak

By Meagan Russell
In Bayou Kidz
Nov 3rd, 2021

article by Cindy G. Foust

Close up focus on happy sincere female holding folded hands on chest. Emotional positive kind candid millennial woman feeling thankful indoors, showing gratitude sign, believe faith charity concept.

Hello faithful readers and happy fall…these past few weeks had actually felt like we were finally getting some fall weather. And then we weren’t. But alas, we find ourselves in the month of all things turkey and dressing and sweet potato casserole…and I can hardly wait. I love this time of year, friends, when the days get shorter and the season starts to change. Change is a good thing, right? Or it can be when you embrace it in the right way. Do you ever hear someone say, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it?” Yeah…me, too. But “the way” it’s always been done sometimes needs a tweak or even a major overhaul and it helps to have the have the mindset that allows for that change. Well, that’s my soapbox for this month’s column.

No, that’s a lie…my soapbox is a little wider and taller this month and I have my reasons, none of which I will share, but let’s just say someone I love very much has been going through a tough spot. We all have them, right? It’s the way of the world and we know it. As a community, and even on the larger landscape, we have all had a tough time this past year and a half. And just when we think it might be the “tail end” of this thing, then someone young and beautiful and smart and loving goes to be with Jesus after a 44-day fight with this dreadful virus. Amy is my distant cousin, you know, the one you grew up with but after you got to the “adulting” stage, you sort of went your separate ways? But thank the good Lord for Facebook (am I actually saying that?) and the way this platform allows us to keep up with those we lose physical tough with over the years. Facebook can be very powerful when used as a resource, rather than a platform to air your grievances with your ex, every now and then, someone posts something that jumps off the page that is both compelling and useful. Compelling and useful when you or your loved ones are hurting or need encouragement or perhaps gives you a little healing when your heart is broken. And it isn’t a caramel white chocolate pumpkin bar. 

No, it’s one of those little posts (thanks Hester Jane) that is so full of advice you think you are hearing from Dear Abigail Van Buren. Anyone remember her? Advice columnist? Yeah, after this article, Cassie might actually ask me to become Abigail Van Foust because this little snippet was titled, “20 Things We Should Say More Often.” Yes, I stopped scrolling when I read the title because I was intrigued by the heading and wondered what in the cat hair I need to say more often.

The first thing is probably the most obvious and that is quite simply, “I love you.” By the way, it’s not “love ya” or “love you,” rather, the entire phrase, “I love you.” Can’t get any plainer than that folks, and perhaps it needs to be said to someone you are cross with or have a conflict with. Listen, we are living in the time of uncertainty and insecurity and there shouldn’t be any room in our lives for conflict. And trust me, I am speaking to myself just as loud and proud as I’m speaking to each of you. And what a great example for our children, to hear us not just saying it to them, but allowing them to hear us saying to family and friends. It’s 3 of the most underused words in our language but should be 3 that we wear ourselves out saying.

The next one that jumped at me was “I believe in you.” This one is everything because these 3 words have the potential to change the trajectory of someone’s life. It doesn’t matter our age, friends, we all need to hear that someone believes in us…and our children need to hear that we believe in them. Because we do…whatever it is that they are trying to put their minds to.

Next is “You are worthy.” Gosh, this one made me tear up because readers, we are all worthy…no matter our lot or our station in life, we are all worthy of the lives we’ve been gifted. And allowing these 3 words to flow into the minds of our children, with so much that they have to deal with in their friend relationships, they need to know that we feel they are admirable and smart and all the things that chisel away at their esteem. Which really goes hand in hand with the next one and that’s “You can do it.”

No matter what our loved ones, adult or children, are going through or maybe trying to accomplish, they need the confidence and support that tells them they can do whatever they set their minds to. We all can. It’s basic, but powerful to hear.

Next, and one that I need to hear as well, and that’s “Even if we disagree, we can still be friends.” This is another one that turned me into a big ole’ crybaby. You want to talk about basic fundamental tenets of a relationship, these words are in that lane. Listen, we aren’t going to agree on everything with those we love, and even when I’m right all the time because I know I am, I have to admit that there will be times that someone doesn’t agree with me or share my opinion. I really can’t imagine a time when that would be the case, but okay, I need to be open to those differences and accept that not everybody likes the Grevillea in the same adoring way I do. It’s okay to be have differing opinions, just don’t let those differences put a wedge in a relationship that is more important than what kind of chicken salad you want to put on the sandwiches. 

And finally, on the list of 20 things we should say more often that I have condensed to 5, is three of the most powerful words in the English language and that’s “I forgive you.” All the other 4 are certainly related to this one but these are the words we need to be able to say fluently. When someone wrongs us, talks about us or hurts us, we feel instinctively that we must be on the defense. And I don’t know about you friends, but someone can hurt me but when they hurt my child, it’s much harder for me to forgive. But I’m working on it.

Am I done with my soapbox yet? I think so… but as we enter the season where we should stop and take a minute to think about the things in life that we are grateful for, the things in life that we give thanksgiving for and the things that we can do to help others, let us remember that the words we speak can be as powerful as the actions we make. I realize that saying “I love you” is much easier than “I forgive you” or even more difficult, “Do you forgive me?” but in the end forgiveness is key to moving us out of a rut that can take over our lives. Say it, but more importantly, do it. Choose your words carefully, readers, use them wisely and be the example for your children that teaches them the power of the spoken word.

Cindy G. Foust is a wife, mom, author and blogger. You can find her blog at the alphabetmom.com for weekly columns about home life,  parenting, small business stories and insight with a smidgen of literacy. Give her a like or follow on Facebook and Instagram.