“You’re mentoring the next generation whether you know it or not.”

This year we’re having a monthly series on mentoring. Head here to read the previous posts.

Annie Downs blew us all away at the Influence Conference last month with her talk about the power of words. (If you were on twitter that morning, you may have noticed I was madly tweeting out quotes from her session.)

Annie Downs on Pride and Prejudice

Annie spoke powerfully about language, especially in the era of the internet. Words truly have the power of life and death, and we’re creating one or the other every time we open our mouths–or sit at our keyboard.

Annie believes words have never been more powerful than they are right now, because of the way they are magnified online. The loudest voice online is the female voice: we have a voice that no generation has had before us. We can be really loud on the internet.

So what are we putting out there?

"You're mentoring the next generation whether you know it or not."

Annie’s main audience is teen girls, and she gets pretty fired up about teaching them, protecting them, and honoring them with our words.

She asked us, our room full of plugged-in women, “Do you have your eyes wide open to how you are behaving online?” Because we’re mentoring the next generation whether we know it or not.

They’ll find us online, she said, just searching for “cute Anthro shirts” or “how to clean my sheets” or some other simple teen (tween?) girl search. Are we speaking life to them? Annie told us to pray that they would find us instead of all the dark and dirty stuff on the internet that is death to them.

Because of the power of the internet, we’re teaching the girls below us how to use our words. And we need to remember them whenever we sit down at the computer or pull out our phone.

They are watching us–and we are mentoring them–whether we know it or not.

Speak Love and Speak Love Revolution by Annie Downs giveaway


Leave A Comment
  1. That is so true. My daughter is only one, but being a former teenager myself 🙂 I am all to familiar with just how harmful, hurtful, and damaging our words can be to one another. I have been enjoying her 31 day series and am excited to read her book soon. I wish I could have been there listening to her talk at the conference. I’m sure it was amazing.

  2. I’ve really been convicted lately about how many eyes are on me (us as adult women) that I’m not even aware of. I don’t want to ever be fake but I do want to live a life that is a good example, a life that exudes love.

  3. Missy G. says:

    What a great post and great reminder! Even for those of us without blogs, what are we saying on facebook, twitter, etc?

  4. Esther says:

    I struggle with words daily. I don’t often even notice the tone of voice I use until it’s reflected back to me by my daughter. This sounds like a wonderful, and important, book.

  5. Brittainy says:

    I would love to read this book! With two younger sisters I know nothing is more true than that you are mentoring them wether you know it or not!

  6. Anita says:

    I have realized this about our words too…mentoring is intentional and unintentional. I’d love to see a copy of this book and the journal sounds great too!

  7. Christina says:

    Wow – what a great giveaway! As a teacher, I am well-aware of the lasting impact I have on students’ lives every day. I would love to read Annie’s book.

  8. Michelle says:

    I’ve often had thoughts along these same lines – we are definitely demonstrating appropriate behavior/interaction to younger generations (both online and otherwise). I love how clearly you and Annie have addressed this present and ever-evolving form of mentoring.

  9. Ronna says:

    I don’t have a blog, but I think this is a very powerful message. I’m only 21 and even I can be greatly impacted by what I see other women are writing or commenting online. I also have three younger sisters who I worry about ceaselessly, especially in a society in which access to anything is always possible. Thank you for being someone that I and my sisters can look toward.

    The giveaway would also be great. 😉

  10. Ginger G says:

    Yes, such a good reminder! I really enjoy your blog – and the fact that clean sheets (with a link) was incorporated into a Mentoring blog post is fabulous! Inspiration and how-to for the big – and little – things! Love it!

  11. Randi says:

    After a day full of regrets last week, I posted this above my computer:

    The tongue has the power of life and death.
    Proverbs 18:21
    Speak life.

    Will definitely be checking out her book. 🙂

  12. Grand Pam says:

    I need this give away for I teach a young girls class at church and I am blessed with 7 granddaughters. I would like to be the best influence possible. Thank you for the great review.

  13. D says:

    The message sounds simple enough; it’s practicing this love-speaking that proves to be challenging. It’s so much easier to complain or wallow in bitterness, but so much more fruitful to love instead.

  14. Betsy says:

    This is the second time the Speak Love book comes across my path. I should probably read it.

    And yes, it’s daunting how harmful our words can be and amazing to think that they can be a powerful transforming force for good.

  15. Ann says:

    This message is so true, for both girls and boys–it’s been my goal as a mother of sons to raise men who are not jerks and a daughter who expects better treatment by men. With the Internet, everyone’s influence over so many children is magnified and it behooves us to pay attention.

  16. tammy cordery says:

    so many children of today don’t have a mentor. they have no one to look up to except the rappers and movie stars. their parents are not around their working all the time and when they do come home they are to tired to bond with their kids. I know I was one of those parents. when I would come home after work I wouldn’t even want to hug them just get the meal on the table and watch some tv and go to bed now it is different. I know that I have to turn the tv off have them help me make dinner hug them oh give them so many hugs I cry thinking about what I took away from them when I didn’t give them the affection that they needed but now I know.

  17. melyssa says:

    The book sounds wonderful. Coincidentally, (or not!) I have been asked to mentor an 8th grader for her Waldorf 8th grade class project. She’s shy … I’m shy … she wants to be a writer. I picture us staring blankly at one another for the 40 hours I’m required to give her. This book may be a lifeline!

  18. Sarah says:

    I loved hearing Annie speak at the conference and I so wish I would have bought the book while I was there! I hear her words of influence every time I blog. Thanks, Anne!

  19. Kathleen says:

    My daughter just mentioned a remark of mine. I thought I was being funny, but that’s not the way she took it. Have to be careful with words to others, but sometimes forget that we need to be careful with the ones closest to us too.

  20. Erika says:

    Wow. I have never heard it put that way before but this has been weighing on my mind recently. We need to be good stewards with our online voices.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. Lisa says:

    Her message is particularly timely with all the chatter about the harm done to girls through internet bullying. Young girls look to the generations before them to see how they should behave in digital interactions. So if we make a habit to judge others through our keyboards on Twitter and Facebook, how can we expect our girls not to do the same? I feel a movement coming on of intentional positive complements #youlookgreattoday 🙂

  22. Sarah A says:

    What a good reminder. I don’t have a blog (yet…), but I often think about how many of our church’s young girls have befriended me on FaceBook. We don’t always “interact” much, but I’m sure they see my posts!

  23. Bree Mooney says:

    I’m a new subscriber, and I’m excited about this giveaway. What an important topic, and one close to my heart as I raise my daughter and teach other elementary aged girls through my church.

  24. Lea says:

    What a great giveaway! I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot lately–mentoring the girls of the next generation–and this would be a great read to help me get into their world a little. I still think I’m a little behind the times when it comes to the impact of this media-driven world. Hopefully this book would bring me up to speed a little 🙂

  25. yvette says:

    Thanks for the offer…seems like an excellent, timely book. I have a 10-year old daughter so I could use all the help I can get!

  26. Peggy Pratt says:

    Such a reminder for all women. I would love to have this book for me and my 7th grader. I’m passing the title on to her youth group leaders.

  27. sarah says:

    So true! While I may have stepped away from my blog for a bit (I do hope to return sometime in the near future…with an explanation for my prolonged absence!), words are still so powerful. We just had a discussion about this last night in a church group that I met with – the tongue is the sharpest weapon. And yet it can also provide so much love, healing, joy when the right words are spoken (or written or typed). Just reading your brief post on this topic has really made me think about it even more – not just my effect on others out there but the effect of other people’s words on my own daughter.

  28. Katie says:

    I’ve never been a mentee-type person (I hated those stupid essays on “My Hero” that cropped up perennially throughout school…I think I wrote one on Lassie once just to be obnoxious). I don’t get along easily with people IRL, and it’s only just recently that I’ve given thought (probably because of this series) to how I might need a mentor in my own life.

    BUT. I find myself thrust into the mentor role, as a teenager at my church recently had a baby just a few months after I did, and very obviously looks to me as an example. And it’s…awkward. And hard. And it’s a little bit online, since we’re Facebook friends, and I think this is a book I might need to look up even if I don’t win it. Thanks, Anne.

  29. Alison S. says:

    Pick me! 🙂 I already had this book on my to read list because you mentioned it, but I would love to win a copy for my library.

  30. Sarah says:

    I love this! I work with college students and am constantly shocked by the way the world treats these students, especially the women! How careless we are sometimes with the words we speak to those around us! Your post, and being a follower of Annie, challenges me to be intentional in speaking life to the students around me, especially the women!

  31. Holly says:

    As I’ve grown older and become a wife and mother I’ve realized more and more the power of words and tone of voice. This book sounds like a great read!

  32. Sam Beard says:

    I love the idea of this book although I hadn’t heard about it until today. As a high school teacher, I realize daily the impact of my words have on my kids. Some of my kids have been traumatized by the words that teachers in the past have spoken to and into them. While I try to be conscious of the words that I speak, I know that some things come out that I shouldn’t ever say. I hope this book will help me to see different ways to approach my kids.

  33. Pat says:

    I have two granddaughter’s and would love to read this book and then pass it on to my daughter and daughter-in-law, the mothers of the girls.
    I read Reviving Opelila by Mary Pipher when my daughter was young. That was a very helpful book in the days before the Internet was so popular

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