When Dad finished giving thanks at the dinner table, two-year-old Joey called out, "Yay-men!"
Cindy laughed. "Joey's learning new words," she said as Mom lifted the cover from the casserole dish. "Yuck!" added Cindy. "Cabbage. I hate that!"
"Yuck!" came the echo from the high chair. "Hate dat."
Cindy clapped her hand over her mouth. "Oops! Sorry, Mom!" she exclaimed. "I shouldn't have said that."
"No, you shouldn't," replied Mom as she put some food on Joey's plate, "but you did say it, and now Joey has heard it and may add it to his memory."
Dad looked around the table. "Would you pass the cabbage, please?" he said.
"Pwease!" Joey echoed. "Pwease!" He began to eat heartily, a big smile on his face. "Yuck!" he said as he took another bite.
Cindy laughed. "He doesn't even know what he's saying!"
"That's true," agreed Mom. "Joey is something like a parrot. If he hears a word often enough, he learns to say it."
"I don't think he's the only one in the family like that," observed Dad. "I've noticed a few bad expressions creeping into your speech, Cindy--words you've probably never made an effort to learn. You just heard them and let them seep into your mind. And frankly, I doubt if you know what some of them mean."
Cindy blushed as she remembered several times that her parents had corrected her language lately. "That's true," she admitted slowly. "Sometimes I'm surprised myself when I hear the stuff I say. Kids talk like that all the time. It gets in my mind and then just slips out of my mouth. I guess I ought to be more careful."
Dad nodded. "We have a big responsibility to spread good words to those around us. And we have a responsibility to ourselves to allow only good words to become part of our thoughts and hearts."
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Are you careful about the words you say? Before you repeat the popular expressions your friends use, do you think about what they mean? Would you be embarrassed to have your parents or your pastor hear you using them? God hears them. You are responsible to Him for the words that come from your mouth.
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: Psalm 139:4 (KJV)
There is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.