Let me tell you what I have observed, something that took awhile to "sink in" that it was happening.
When I am diligent to deal gently with my son, he will often go above and beyond my expectations in response! Now, sometimes it takes everything in me to remain calm, and other times I still choose to go the wrong direction. And sometimes when I'm doing everything "right," he still chooses to be difficult. But there are times when he's being obstinate, but I consistently respond with gentleness, and he will suddenly and genuinely switch his attitude and do more than I asked him to or put more effort into something than I would have expected him to. At times he'll be extra cheerful and extra compliant when I'm being extra gentle. It's like he's going the extra mile just because he feels like it.
Can gentleness really inspire such motivation:?
Apparently so! I've witnessed it! It's not me, but God's Spirit working in me and in my Little Mister. I'm so grateful! :)
We're both changing in ways that we need to, but it started with me, the adult (!!), recognizing my own shortcomings and dealing with those as much as (or more than) his.
Click here if you'd like to read about and/or join the Gentleness Challenge! I highly recommend it. :)