Monday, January 9, 2012

Gentle Mothering, Part 2

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."  Proverbs 15:1

It's so true!  Those harsh words, whether they are directed from parent to child, spouse to spouse, friend to friend, etc., are counterproductive.  They only make a bad situation worse. 

Also, it's disrespectful and just plain wrong to speak that way.

I'm disrespectful and just plain wrong sometimes!

I'm not much of a yeller, but I'm an expert at making my exasperation known.  During this past week of the Gentleness Challenge, I've been even more acutely aware of how easy it is to slip into that zone!  The body language, tone of voice, choice of words . . . oh, yeah!  I've got it down pat.

It's a very selfish way of dealing with . . . . anyone!

And, anyway, how inspiring is it to be hollered at?  Yelling or speaking in an exasperated voice to a child will only succeed in causing a child to obey out of fear or annoyance, if he obeys at all.  Is this the result we are after?  We'd likely rather be helping our children want to be obedient because it's the right thing to do.  This is how they learn integrity.  If they're only trained to do the right thing because they don't want the negative consequences of disobedience, they only learn to "perform" when it suits them, rather than doing the right thing even when no one will know the difference--true integrity.

And if we yell or manipulate, they learn to yell and/or manipulate.  We are their models.  Is this a cycle we want to perpetuate?

I'm not implying that we should allow our children to get away with doing wrong.  But, just as God deals with us, there is a place for grace and mercy.

Gentle words.  Gentle gestures.  Gentle tone of voice.  Whispering when one feels like yelling (I read that here yesterday).  Yes, these will make more of a difference, I believe.  Lord, help me live like I believe!

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