Usually, this phrase follows the failure of someone else.
And in saying, “I told you so,” instead of lifting that person out of their failure (like Jesus would), I am choosing to wallow in their failure and remind them how much wiser I am.
Oftentimes as a mom, I find myself using some form of this phrase under the guise of creating a teachable moment for my children.
“I told you not to touch that burner!”
“That’s what happens when you pick your nose too much!”
“I knew you would trip with your shoes on the wrong feet!”
For some reason, in those moments when I’m frustrated (because I DID warn them about these things, and I AM smarter than them), my gut reaction is to scold them and remind them how smart I am. I like to think that the root of my scolding is because I so desperately want them to stay safe without burned hands and bloody noses, but is “I told you so” the best I can do as a mom?
The first words out of my mouth don’t need to be a reminder of what I told them.
The first words out of my mouth need to be addressing the pain caused by their failure or bad decision.
The first words out of my mouth need to give life.
That means stuffing down the first (selfish) thoughts that come to my head and asking, “Are you okay? How can I help?”
Maybe later, after the knees have their bandaids, we can discuss the benefits of wearing shoes on the right feet, but the attitude of “I told you so” just teaches my children to react with selfishness instead of with compassion.