Foot in Mouth Disease -Do You Have it?

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Have you been there.  That moment of awkward silence that feels like eternity after sticking your foot into your mouth.   It happens to me all of the time.

 Now we try to make ourselves fill better by saying who cares.  I am going to be my own person and speak my mind.  If they cant handle it then that is their problem.  What this attitude is saying is that words dont really matter.

 Power and Words

 The problem with this view is that words do matter.  Words have more power then we could ever realize.  Sure when someone says something nasty or mean it can hurt.  I would be shocked if I heard about youth workers calling students stupid or ugly.  Everyone knows that there is negative power in words like these.

 How about the more subtle things that are said.  With your words do you insinuate that a certain student could never public speak.  Maybe you make your female students feel less qualified then male students in certain areas.

 I remember clear as day when I was going to team teach with a male and female student in my youth ministry.  I got together with each of them separately during the week to see if they had any questions and to go over their material.  When I met with the female student she asked me right away if I would also be meeting with the male student.

 What had I said or done that made her suspect that she was being treated differently?

 Shaping Words

 I know some of you are very sskepticalright now.  You think I am over exaggerating.  Go ahead and watch this video.  I know it comes from a feminine hygiene company, but it makes a powerful point.

 Meaningless Words

 We all use words all of the time.  Today you will say countless things.  What are you communicating to your students?

 Are your words impregnated with hope, life and love?

 I am not saying anything new.  James talked about this in great detail and much more elegantly then I am here. 

 But James is saying what I am attempting, your words have power, use them to shape students positively. 

 Think about what you are saying.  Think about how those words will impact the student.  Know that your words have power.

 What stories do you have about words?

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.