Someone iListening

“[The righteous] are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.”
Psalm 37:26

Be careful what you say in the presence of your babies. That’s the advice of a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, who tells us that children only eight months of age are capable of hearing and remembering words, good and bad. In a study by Dr. Peter Juscyzk, babies were exposed to three recorded stories for a period of about ten days. When they were tested in the lab two weeks later, they clearly recognized the words in the stories but failed to respond to those they hadn’t heard. According to Robin Chapman, a University of Wisconsin language specialist, the study demonstrates that very young children attend to the sounds of language and are able to pick out those that are familiar. Chapman concludes that “a lot of language learning is happening in the first year of life.”

Whether we like it or not, almost everything we say and do is observed and recorded—by the patrolman with a radar gun, by the convenience store video camera, and even by our young children. If our marriage models a spirit of generosity worth imitating, it will lead to blessings for everyone.

Just between us . . .

• What are some of your earliest memories of your parents’ words and actions?
• If we videotaped ourselves, would we be pleased by what we saw?
• Besides each other, whom do we influence with our everyday words and deeds? Are we modeling a spirit of generosity for them?

Lord, we know that our every action has a tremendous impact on those around us, and we want to be mature, responsible and positive ambassadors for You. Help us glorify You in how we think, act, and speak. Amen.

• Language research and comments from “Infants’ Memory for Spoken Words” by P. W. Juscyzk and E. A. Hohne (Science, 26 September 1997) and “Parents Beware: Little Ears Are Listening” by Rachel Ellis (Associated Press, http://www.ap.org/, 26 September 1997).

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Couples. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.