The One Word Reminder

Years ago, I read a parenting book about the power of the one word reminder.  Instead of spouting out long, elaborate directions to children, especially in times of transition (leaving for school, going to bed), you simply call out the one word reminder.


The single reminder houses an entire narrative:  the child remembers now to get her jeans on, put on her socks, and find her shoes.  She doesn’t need my monologue.  One word does it. 

As I thought about the power of one word to invoke a whole series of commands, and how that one word gets a child’s train of thought back on the right track, I wondered about my own one word commands.

What if I used one word reminders to get my mind where it should be and to realign my heart with the truth?  If one word helps children, why can’t one word help adults too?

I used a couple on myself today. 

In the slopping rain, I call out to myself: flair.  Suddenly, I remember to look for it.   Later, I use the single word gentle to remind myself to be gracious and gentle with myself and others. I’ve been known to call out the word “Jesus” to invoke the enormity of the gospel into whatever situation I’m in. 

One word triggers–mantras of focus and truth–can reshape the day, get my head out of a muddle, and refocus my heart. We have an entire arsenal of power here.  We can apply it right now, that one word reminder, that will change everything.  

Share the Post:

0 Responses

  1. Well, I don't usually one words reminders–but I have many “slogans” or “phrases” that I use for self talk at appropriate times. I will try the one-word approach.

  2. I hadn't thought of it before, but I definitely do this. I usually think of a breath prayer, something that involves inhaling and exhaling, while praying. My favorite word is “peace.” Great post–now I want to make sure I pass it on to my kids!

  3. I use “under-react!” a lot – it brings me right back to my sense when I feel aggravated. So far it has prevented many fights and arguments from happening.

  4. I will be trying this. My current self-talk goes on at great length without much result! Thank you for the idea.