With a huge smile and sparking eyes, our 2-and-a-half-year-old threw himself into my arms shouting, “Happy Birthday Mothers!”
It was the best Mother’s Day greeting ever.
He is ridiculously cute. Two-and-a-half-year-olds say the funniest things. I love, love, love the things he says.
PLEASE don’t correct him.
I know, I know. He’s “wrong.” His language is “incorrect.” He needs to learn the “right” way.
But, apart from me thinking it’s cute, have you seen all the research about language development in toddlers? The common adult need to correct toddler language can actually discourage healthy language development. As he uses words experimentally to express his feelings and thoughts, correction can invalidate his feelings and discourage future attempts. Language specialists say that the best way to help toddlers learn is simply to model correct pronunciation and grammar in our every day conversations. Over time, he will learn the intricacies of language by listening to all of us.
At this age, it’s not the “word” that’s important, it’s the concepts behind the word. For toddlers, communication is the highest goal not correct grammar. To adults, toddler language may seem “wrong,” but their ramblings are developmentally appropriate. On Sunday, his little heart expressed a blessing for his mother with full joy. He communicated using a concept he already knows and loves: birthdays. His “incorrect” words were full of meaning and emotion. Way more meaning than if he’d simply parroted the right words. He associated concepts and compiled words to express his feelings. Bravo my son. Bravo!!
Yes, correction is needed. And it will happen. But this is a season of attempts. Of experiments. A season to savor his cuteness. There are many serious lessons ahead and correction will be given. He is becoming a full-grown man but that takes a lot of time. But for now we are enjoying these days of gorgeous childishness.
My child’s attempts delight me. Please don’t correct him.
_ _ _
My mother-heart is thinking about Abba Yahweh and His leadership of each of our sanctification journeys. I’ve never thought about it until today… but as a Father, He must be delighted by our sweet developmental stages. This amazing God of Grace and Mercy. This God of Redemption and Transformation. He must utterly enjoy our sweet attempts as we grow in Him. As we worship Him, serve Him, Love Him, follow Him.
We see it woven through His Word. He sees beyond our outside behaviors. He sees our hearts. He knows who far we’ve come. And He is proud of His children. His masterpieces. His beloveds.
And I wonder: Do I ever give correction to His children without asking the Father what His plan is for them? Do I point out “problems” just because I consider them to be problems? Am I part of God’s Plan for developing people or am I administering my own plan? Am I using common sense and experience-based wisdom instead of asking the Holy Spirit each and every time?
Oh friends. The weight of this is big. For my son, someone’s well-intentioned correction could produce a language development problem. For God’s children, someone’s well-intentioned correction could produce a spiritual development problem. Or… even cause someone to walk away from God’s Love all together.
We have to give correction in the right way and at the right time. And only Almighty Yahweh knows how and when.
Now. It has to be said: When something is wrong, it’s wrong. Loving correction and coaching towards Truth is an essential part of our growth in God. And it is so important for Truth to be given when error exists. Right?! Yes. And God’s Word gives us directions and guidance about giving correction within the Body of Christ.
But, I am hearing the Father’s Heart cry out to me through my own motherhood journey. Correction given in the wrong time is not good and it’s not godly. Just like our sweet 2-year-old is on a developmental learning curve, all of God’s children are on a journey with Him. A non-linear, unique, God-orchestrated journey.
Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with – even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently. (Romans 14:1 Msg) [Check out the whole chapter: Romans 14]
I wonder if correction given outside of God’s Plan could be some of those “idle words” we will have to give account for?
Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. (Matt 12:36 Msg)
I wonder how often God is saying to me. To you. To us: My child’s attempts delight me. Please don’t correct them.