"Parker has a robot. He built it. It walks and talks. I'd love to have one, too."
Gabe is a saver, so after the coins, he probes the belly of his bank for wadded dollar bills. There are quite a few. We count his money and browse Amazon. He's close but he doesn't have quite enough.
"Extra chores?" he asks.
I can't resist a smile beaming hope and joy.
When the brown box arrives, my boy is breathless. It's Saturday, so he begins building right away. I'm thankful as I watch him. He can do things I cannot. He's persistent, and it's not long before his robot looks like a robot. A robot without legs.
And I watch him work.
Each move is carefully calculated. He reads the instruction manual. Holds the pieces. He thinks before he makes a move.
As I watch, I begin to wonder. Oh, if we would be this careful with the way we treat others. If only we would be so careful with words.
So often in family life and in true-blue living, we're comfortable and careless and words can pour forward in a hasty rush. We don't always consider carefully. We don't examine and measure and ponder where they're placed.
Words hold power. We can use them to lift others up or tear them down. Words can build or break.
One afternoon not long ago, Gabriel and I were in the grocery store. I watched an older gentleman watch us. He smiled and spoke to my boy.
"I've been noticing how you help your Mama," he said. "Keep it up. The world needs men like you. You're a fine young man."
Delight settled on Gabe's sweet face. The encouragement spoke to the center of his soul. But then just minutes later, Gabe and I were in the parking lot lifting bags to our trunk when another gentleman passed by.
"Nice parking job, lady," he growled.
I looked at my tires. It was true that I'd parked outside the lines. But his words were a violation, too. I carried the disapproval with me as we traveled home.
Oh, the power of words...
Lord, let me use words to build others. Help me remember that what we say matters.
Gabriel and his robot hang together for most of the afternoon. The robot gets his legs. Gabriel works on parts and pieces and it isn't long before the robot dances when Gabriel gives the command. Gabe smiles and his eyes shine joy because carefully placed pieces bring forth a good thing.
True of little boys and robots.
True of the power of words.
Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24 ESV