To Speak Love In Their Hearts.

on October 20, 2007 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 7 comments by

It’s 12:52am. I made a critical error this afternoon and fell asleep after school with no alarm set to end the [much needed] nap. So at 9pm when I woke up, I realized I was in big trouble. And this is what big trouble looks like. Being bright eyed and bushy tailed at 1am. But it looks like an actual blog will come of it. Or a semblance of a blog. We’ll see. My friend Justin wrote a very interesting blog earlier this week. And it is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. The power of words and the importance of using them wisely.

As a teacher, I spend my day with a lot of children. And these children talk a lot. I mean, A LOT. And I get quickly annoyed. In fact, today I was sitting at my desk, head in hands, saying, “Please. Just do what I ask. Sit down. Pack your book bags. Be quiet. Come on guys.” How many people in the room were actually listening? Oh, none. I take that back. ONE. Which one? The MOM standing at my door to pick up her little precious. Fantastic.

So many times I want to LOSE IT. Like, really. In a deep and meaningful way. YELL my head off until they realize that they have pushed me about 6 inches past my limits. Because they have. No one can push me to the edge like a group of children who don’t follow directions.

Early in my teaching career I learned this- sometimes in those moments, I need to just shut up. Because when I say something out of anger, the kid goes home, and I go home …. and I worry all night long- “If something happens to me before school tomorrow, does that child KNOW that I love them?” It’s hard to wonder if something you said made a permanent and painful mark on someone’s heart.

There are not many things in this world that are more powerful than words. Maybe the writer and constant talker in me is biased, but that is the truth as I see it. Good words can heal deep wounds. Unkind words can cut them open. So, I try, ATTEMPT, to not say the ugly out- of- pure- frustration comment or use a frustrated tone. I often fail. Obviously. Or this wouldn’t be a lesson I had learned (and continue to learn). But God has flooded these situations with His grace. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said something and then hung my head immediately. In my mind, I say, “Oh God, I’m sorry. Give me Your words for this kid.” And He does.

Because I’m His ambassador. He would MUCH rather I use His words than my own. I don’t take for granted the idea that I may be the ONLY Christian in these children’s lives. I may be the ONLY voice in their lives that speaks genuine LOVE and TRUTH and ENCOURAGEMENT. But, knowing all of this, knowing that God placed these lives in my hands for 180 days- these things don’t make me Super Christian!, local perfect behaving heroine. I’m just grateful that when my tongue runs faster than my good sense, His grace is sufficient. There are days now, in my 5th year of this, after 700+ days total, where I go home mad at myself for something I said. But that’s life. That’s why God made candy. A hug, an apology, and a piece of candy- the terrific trio.

The song “Legacy” by Nichole Nordeman is kind of my teaching theme song. I think these words a lot and it has definitely tamed my tongue more than once. It has also made me braver than I ever thought I could be about my faith in the classroom. Here are the lyrics to the chorus:

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering

A child of mercy and grace who
blessed Your name unapologetically

And leave that kind of legacy

Someday, I want my children to make this connection- Ms. Downs really loved me. Ms. Downs went to church. I wonder if she loved me because of God loves her. I wonder if God loves me.

And there is the mark I want to leave. A desire to know God’s love. So I hold my tongue. I breathe before I speak. I ask their forgiveness when I speak unkindly. I hug my kids and tell them everyday that I love them.

So, Justin, there’s my take on it. Do your best to speak life as much as possible. Accept His grace when you don’t. Speak love in their hearts, and believe that someday it will be the string that pulls them to God.


  1. carolineb
    posted on Oct 20, 2007 at 2:29 PM  |  reply

    God used words to create the universe. Words. Powerful. And I’ve got a mouth on me. Scary. Every night when I lie down I think of all the things I shouldn’t have said.


  2. Marie-Claire
    posted on Oct 20, 2007 at 2:53 PM  |  reply

    the way you feel about Phil Wickham is how I feel about Nichole’s lyrics. So good. And being at college, away from families, I never thought I would miss seeing children. Oh wait, I don’t.

  3. Boggsy
    posted on Oct 20, 2007 at 5:39 PM  |  reply

    I have been waiting expectantly (and anxiously) for this post! And yes, you in fact wrote 10 paragraphs (minus the song lyrics), which is awesome! You have sooo much wisdom it’s hard to comprehend. I truly believe these kids will look back at you years down the road and say that you influenced their lives the most! I’m glad we are going to Scotland together!

  4. ManUtd17
    posted on Oct 21, 2007 at 12:58 AM  |  reply

    Filters. They are so necessary, and yet I hate wearing mine. I’d much rather hurl insults and sarcasm and then just blame the other person(s) for being so . . . whatever I think they are. Grace. More grace.


  5. Melinda
    posted on Oct 21, 2007 at 3:35 PM  |  reply

    I’m a first year Kindergarten Aide, to a first year Kindergarten teacher. I heart you!

  6. E & G
    posted on Oct 23, 2007 at 10:47 PM  |  reply

    amen sista! I love this post & you know i love the song. Thanks for speaking love into ‘lots of hearts (not just your children…but mine, too).

  7. Bennie
    posted on Dec 07, 2007 at 2:18 PM  |  reply

    Hey Annie,

    Great words of wisdom. I shall try to adopt your outlook as my modus operandi(at home and at school). I am guilty of hauling sarcastic remarks at my young ones-(I know,shame on me)-every now and then out of sheer frustration…followed by an apology. However, there are times when I go to bed and wonder whether my apology for all those things I shouldn’t have said were a dollar too short; a day too late!

    Your reference to the children reminds me of one of my most recent blog enteries, titled “Who’s Gonna Feed Me?” Be sure to check it out when you’re in my neck of the woods.

    Btw, You mean the jibber jabbering is not reserved for subs only? -;)

    Hope you have a great weekend!

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