The Tone of Success

Have you made the mistake of saying the right thing with the wrong tone of voice? I have. You end up with the opposite reaction than you wanted, don’t you?

 

I remember when my son Edward was just a little guy. We were on the way to church and I noticed he had a bag with him in the backseat, so I asked him what was in the bag. He said, “My Nintendo.” I thought, What? So I asked him why he had his Nintendo and he told me, “God spoke to me and told me to give it to a boy in our church who can’t afford one.” I was intrigued by this, so I asked him what it sounded like when God spoke to him. Without missing a beat, Edward told said, “EDWARD! GIVE AWAY YOUR NINTENDO!!”

 

My heart sank when I heard that. I don’t doubt for a minute that my son heard from the Lord. But the voice he heard, the tone that he was associating with God, was my voice. It was my tone of voice. It was God speaking to my son, through the filter of the tone I regularly used with my kids. At that point in my life, most of my interactions with my kids were coaching style, “Get your room picked up kids! Don’t talk back! No talking while the coach is speaking!” And that’s what my son thought God sounded like. My tone informed the way that my son heard God speak.

 

That day I prayed a simple prayer, “God, would you help me change the tone of my voice with my kids? Would you forgive me?”

 

I learned that day, that the same tone that Edward had learned from me, was the same tone I had learned to hear God in myself. It’s not that God was actually using that tone with me. That tone was the filter I had learned to hear Him in through my coaches, and other broken father figures in my life. It’s the same tone I translated to my kids. For years, my kids didn’t really know how I felt about them because my tone was always consistent with that of a coach, “Do better, be better, get stronger.”

 

And so today I’m asking you, what do your kids believe you think about them? A lot of that comes from the tone you’ve been using with them. Some of you may be feeling that you’ve made too many mistakes to change it now. But I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late to make a difference. The first step is forgiveness. 

 

John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”

 

When you learn to hear from God for yourself, the way that Jesus heard from the Father, you’re going to become generous from the inside out just like Jesus was. And that’s going to change everything.

 

Here are a few tips for you with your kids:

  • Be real with your kids. Jesus came not to be our hero but to teach us how to do life. Your kids need you to model how to live, how to forgive, and how to love others.
  • Be present with your kids. You need to move into your kid’s neighborhood and do what they love to do. You need to be a part of their world.
  • Be generous with your words as God has been generous with you. Be generous with your tone.

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Published on September 5, 2019.

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