One major area of breakdown in marriages and families today is communication. The apostle Paul used the word corrupt to describe speech that has the power to tear people down, adults and children alike (Eph. 4:29). He also stated that good communication is “necessary edification,” for it has the power to build people up.

Here are examples of corrupt communication we often aim at our children: “Can’t you do anything right?” “What’s wrong with you?” “You’ll never learn.” “You’re always breaking something.” “Oh, let me do it.” The list is endless. But so are examples of edifying communication. A list called “99 Ways To Say ‘Very Good'” offers these encouraging words: “That’s it!” “You’re really working hard today.” “I’m very proud of you.” “Now you’ve figured it out.” “You are very good at that.” “That’s the way!” “Now that’s what I call a fine job.” “Good thinking.”

Paul said that when we edify others through our speech, we impart grace, or spiritual benefit, to their lives (v.29). Let’s examine our speech habits for careless words, and then resolve to build up every person we meet, especially children. Remember, people need encouragers more than they need critics. Which one are you?