Children are the best recorders but the worst computers. Everything they hear, they remember. But they don’t have the maturity to process it.
One of the things I appreciate about my wife Ruth is that she set very high standards for the conversations we had when hosting guests in our home. Being into reconciliation and problem solving, it was very common early in our marriage for people to come to our house under a heavy burden and just blurt out everything that was bothering them—the problem they were having with this pastor or that preacher, the worship leader or the youth group… or with me for that matter. And my wife, who is very calm and very gentle, I never saw her more determined when she said, “You have to promise me that we will not allow any of our guests to criticize anybody here in our home while our children are around, and even when they aren’t around.”
That was an incredible blessing because, you see, children hear the problem but they can’t process it with the same maturity you do. They hear that somebody is criticizing you and they immediately get wounded but they don’t know how to heal that wound. They just know that somebody hates daddy, and there are plenty of people out there who think they are neurosurgeons when in reality they are butchers with an ax hacking the body of Christ. So, protect your kids. Don’t let people come and criticize anybody in your home. Don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Set the standards.