More than words

Posted on August 16, 2017 · Posted in Communication, Parenting

Solomon makes an important observation about your facial expressions. Yes, words matter. They must be used with skill and grace. But you have other significant ways that you communicate with your children. One of them is by your countenance. Positively or negatively, the look on your face makes a difference. Proverbs 16:15 describes it this way:

In the light of a king’s face there is life,
 and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.

In countries ruled by kings, a king’s smile was a big deal. A king had absolute authority. He literally had the power of life and death. So, the smile of the king was a welcome sight to his subjects. In Israel if the spring rains failed to come then the crops would fail and there could soon be famine in the land. The king’s favor was like the welcome rains of spring.

You may not be a king. Still, Proverbs 16:15 is a reminder of just how important your countenance is to your children. For example:

“What’s wrong mommy?”

“Nothing, dear. Why did you think something is wrong.”

“Well, you don’t look very happy.”

“Oh, it is nothing. I was just thinking about something. Go on now, play with your brother.”

But, to your child, your expression is something. You are the most important person in his or her life. A blank or worried expression sends a message of problems, a message of uncertainty. Your child may well think you are displeased with them in some way. But a smile, a hug, delighting in just seeing your kids means everything to them.

Let your children see the light of your face and a smile on your lips. There are times when words are not needed to express joy and favor.  A pleasant, warm countenance tells your children you are there for them. It tells them that they are loved. Make this a common experience for your kids.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.