I recently read Josh Shipp’s book, The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans. For anyone who interacts with teenagers—be it parents, teachers, mentors, grandparents, coaches—this is a great resource and tool for learning the needs and communication preferences of teens at every stage of adolescence.
One of the topics Josh addressed is engaging with social media. While he was speaking primarily about teen engagement on the internet, I think this guideline can be a helpful tool for all of us to remember as we post content online, speak to one another, and engage with people of all ages.
Josh shared the following acronym with its reminder to THINK before we post (or speak, etc.). We must ask, is it:
T – True?
H – Helpful?
I – Inspiring?
N – Necessary?
K – Kind?
I’m as guilty of anyone of speaking words that don’t fit this bill. Or of posting something online with impure motives. This acronym is not only helpful to remind me to think before I speak, but it also parallels the call in scripture to think on such things.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
Scripture tells us that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). What we think about will eventually flow out of our mouths and be shown in our actions. This week, may we choose to dwell on thoughts that bring life; may we be reminded of the power of our words to influence others; and may we be inspired to use our words to encourage and lift up those around us.