It was late afternoon and I was riding with my daughter to pick up Ben, my youngest grandson. When we arrived at Little Lambs Pre-school, my daughter went inside to sign Ben out. She was gone a little longer than I anticipated. As they returned to the car, it was obvious that things were not well between Ben and his mother. There had been a ‘little’ problem with Ben at Little Lambs.
Lori was visibly upset as she buckled Ben into his car seat and started home. Whenever we stopped, Lori would turn around with a wagging finger and lecture him about his behavior. After several brief negative interludes, Ben interrupted his mother and said, “Mommy, my teacher at Little Lambs said, if you can’t say something nice about somebody you shouldn’t say anything at all”. I tried to muffle my laughter to no avail. The mood in the car lightened appreciably. Ben won that round.
‘Out of the mouths of babes’ is a phrase used when a child has just said something that seems very wise or clever. The event with Ben illustrates the point. The etymology of the phrase can be traced to Psalm 8:2, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength …” (KJV).
I have often referenced Ben’s wisdom when involved in conversations with people who unleash negative barrages against folks that I may or may not know. A couple of scripture verses not only affirm Ben’s practical advice, but add to it.
- “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6, NIV).
- “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” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV).
Prayer: Lord, as I engage people today, let my conversations be full of grace and helpful. Help me build people up and encourage them. Let me follow Ben’s advice and: ‘Say Something Nice’.
~ Brother Roy