Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Confusing Cause and Effect

Peanut is experimenting with language and the ways she gets it “wrong” are always funny, sometimes profound. Cause and effect is convoluted, as in “Its my birthday because I am having a cupcake” or “We are at church because I ate a donut.” But maybe she’s right and we do go to church because there are donuts. Maybe frosting and sprinkles does turn a normal days into an elaborate celebration.

Last week she kept telling me, over and over, that she was so exciting: “I am so exciting we are going to the park,” “I am so exciting we are having lunch,” “I am so exciting to go to Sis’s school.” I didn’t correct her. She is so exciting.

Her lips have been chapped, so she keeps asking me for Gasoline.

She wants to visit the Space Noodle.

Finding the right word for the right time and using it well is tricky business. Sometimes we don't know that it doesn’t quite work until after we have already said it. And sometime we know the words that are lining up in our minds are wrong, mean, hurtful, unproductive – but we say them anyway. Like yesterday when I very, very loudly told Peanut that I could-not-would-not listen to anymore crying. I might as well have been yelling about how I wasn’t going to give her any more Band-Aids without stopping to investigate why it was that she kept skinning her knee.

Yesterday my words were all wrong. I kept confusing cause and effect and spent all my energy mopping up the toxic verbal mess I was making. I yelled a lot. Then apologized. Then yelled some more. Today needs to be better, and so I ask for the grace to choose my words wisely. Lord, when I am talking to the babies, please give me words of peace, wisdom, and above all, grace. Because words matter.

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24


  1. thank you for this, friend. so often you say what I've been thinking, but way better or say what I wish I had just been thinking. hugs to you.

  2. love this and you! I feel the "could not would not" moments in my life too.