By Dan Hall
Quotes, verses and life mottos
Equipping through the power of words
My sixth and youngest child just started college. As my wife left her on campus, she leaned out the window and said, “Remember honey, spread joy!”
Now that we have the house to ourselves after 30 years, I have taken time to consider where my wife and I have done a good job parenting. It is so easy to rehearse my failures, but for sanity’s sake I’ve learned the discipline of celebrating the successes.
One thing I think we did right was equipping our children with poignant and applicable Scripture verses and quotes. Our parents taught us that discipline and we sought to pass it on.
Many of those verses related to God’s love for us, the price Jesus paid for us to know Him and the privilege to live in relationship with Him. Other of those verses related to truths that helped frame life principles.
Before my older girls could talk, I can remember my wife repeating Proverbs 31:30 to them: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” What a joy to see them now embracing this in their 20s and 30s.
Seeking to teach them how to manage conversation, I would often quote Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
We also pulled from Christians who had impacted us. On my son’s journal I had imprinted Christian martyr Jim Elliott’s own journal entry: “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
We redeemed great quotes from other sources that we felt reflected important values. To encourage my children to live passionately, I quoted Henry David Thoreau: “…to live deep and suck the marrow out of life…”
One my wife taught that I think every one of my children can quote is Ralph Waldo Emerson: “There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us.” This often got shortened to, “Remember honey, spread joy!”
Make no mistake about it; they made fun of us while they were growing up. We got the rolled eyes, the mocking voice and the, “Yeah, yeah, I know!” We now have four grandchildren learning their own repository of life truths.
As parents, we equip our children with lots of tools. The ability to synthesize key life principles into words is a particularly powerful one.
As my wife left another new dorm room last week, she leaned out the window and said, “Remember honey, spread joy!”
With a smile and a glint of a tear in her eye, my daughter responded, “Yes ma’am!”
Dan Hall is an executive and strategic coach to leaders and executive teams. He also works with organizations on Teambuilding, Conflict Resolution and Communication Skills. He and his wife Hazel have six children and four grandchildren. You can reach him at Dan@OnCourseSolutions.com.