Who is the voice inside your child’s head?
by MATT JACOBSON
HERE’S A REASON Coke® and Pepsi® will spend billions advertising in 2022. When you’re thinking about something to drink, they are determined to do every-thing in their power to ensure that the voice inside your head speaks their thoughts — the thoughts their advertising put there. Why billions? Because it works! What you think about their products is vital to their success, so in 2022 they are staying laser-focused on a critical fact we as parents sometimes forget about our kids: Messaging is vital.
SO MANY MESSAGES
The “voice” — that internal message center we all have — speaks nonstop into the mind and heart, informing the “listeners” of who they are, what they should do, what others think about them, and what they should think about everything else. All parents should ask, “Who/what is informing the internal voice of my children? What is the messaging they have been or will be receiving this week?”
It doesn’t matter what ages your children are, even if they are out of your home on their own, even if they are married. The voice is speaking to them powerfully. Is it a positive, encouraging, and uplifting voice inspiring your son or daughter for the week ahead, for the future God desires? Or is it the negative voice of failure, inadequacy, and self-destruction?
The answer depends on where the messaging comes from — friends, church, college, work, social media, movies, music, advertising — and what those sources are informing your kids to think about themselves. As parents, we need to remember about our children what Coke and Pepsi never forget about every person on the planet: The repeated messages they receive will inform their thought patterns, self-perception, and actions.
The Bible speaks of Satan as a destroyer, a roaring lion constantly on the prowl. God’s enemy is still seeking to devour, and he wants our kids on the menu. It’s a graphic picture, but we should take a moment to consider the methods he uses in the process of devouring. In a word, Satan’s method is messaging. He wants his thoughts in our children’s head. We first see him in Genesis in the garden with Eve, calling into question the Word of God — saying in effect, “Did God really say that?” He sought to implant in Eve’s mind his evil perspective of who she was and what she could become. His advertising plan certainly worked then, and he’s still at it today. He’s still prowling around seeking to inform and destroy our children.
GOD’S POWERFUL VOICES
But there’s good news too! We are not alone. God knows our challenges as parents and grandparents. Our Lord Jesus Christ said in John 16:33, “‘I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.’” Dad, Mom, Grandparent, we serve the Victor, the God who has already triumphed and has given us the truth, the most powerful messaging the world has ever known.
Many messaging sources inform your children, but don’t forget one of the most powerful voices God has placed in their lives is that person you see in the mirror every morning. You are a source of tremendous influence for establishing the narrative in the mind and heart of your children. How are you using that power today?
Not long ago, I heard a parent of a young child declare in the child’s presence, “He’s just really stubborn.” It wasn’t the first time I had heard that, and the little guy certainly lived up to his parent’s assessment. Any message repeatedly given to a child, young or old, will become the powerful, dominant reality — the narrative playing on a continuous loop in the child’s head.
Yes, our children have heard instruction and correction regularly, as they should, but do they frequently hear our words of love, praise, affirmation — uplifting words of who they are? It’s common for parents to be vocal, even effusive, when praising their children to others and yet be equally sparing in speaking those same words directly to their children. Perhaps you recently spoke to a friend with some well-placed parental pride. Good. But have you done so face-to-face with your son or daughter?
We often forget what is vital to our children’s heart and self-understanding. Our children need to hear directly from us how wonderful we believe they are, how capable, how blessed by God with amazing gifts and talents, how much we like them and enjoy spending time with them. By default or intentionally, we are establishing the narrative of the inner voice of our children.
THEIR THIRSTY SOULS
God’s message of who our children are is in direct competition with the destructive, negative, deceitful messaging of God’s enemy. God has entrusted us with our influential parental voice to speak His truth to the heart of our children. Satan wants to be in charge of informing their inner voice to define them as inadequate and unlovable — as failures and losers with whom God is always angry. God’s message is that our children are His unique and awesome creations. He wants them to rehearse His love for them — remembering He has given His Son, Jesus, to save them from the penalty of their sin through repentance and trusting in the hope He has for their future. Are you using the voice God gave you to speak His uplifting message to the heart of your children?
Young children and even many older adult children are like a plant in the desert sun, thirsty for blessings, encouragement, and affirmation. It’s the reason my wife, Lisa, and I wrote 100 Words of Affirmation Your Son Needs to Hear and 100 Words of Affirmation Your Daughter Needs to Hear — to help you offer life-giving words to your children. If your messaging has been less than the best, remember the power of your voice and of repeated messaging. Be the narrator of God’s truth in the mind and heart of your children.
When it comes to informing your children’s internal voice against the destructive messages bombarding them, speak up, speak in, and speak often! How often is it necessary? Let’s ask Coke and Pepsi.
MATT JACOBSON is a biblical marriage coach, founder of FaithfulMan.com, creator of FREEDOM Course, teaching men how to get free from porn (Freedom-Course.com), and author of 100 Ways to Love Your Wife and 100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear. He lives with his wife, Lisa, in the Pacific Northwest where they have raised their eight children. Matt and Lisa are co-hosts of the popular Faithful Life podcast.
This article originally appeared in Mature Living magazine (August 2022). For more articles like this, subscribe to Mature Living.