Mom Confession: Sometimes (often) I have trouble remembering to be gentle with my kids when I am frustrated.
Currently I have an almost 5 year old boy. He is ALL boy. He is wild and full of energy. He is sweet but loves to play rough. I am okay with all of this. The problem I run into is his lack of self control. Boys at this age (and probably older) do and then think. Today, I lost my cool with my boy. We were dropping my oldest off at school and he just couldn't find the self control in him to be quiet during chapel. I should have been patient and gentle with him. Training him by modeling the behavior I wanted him to have. Instead, I got frustrated with him. We left chapel early and because I was frustrated I was rough with my other kids as well. I was rough in speech and in body language.
On the drive home I was disappointed with my behavior. The reason we had to leave early was because of my poor self control, not my sons. I heard the Lord say to me. 'All you needed to do was be gentle, the way I am gentle with you. You must lead them gently if you want them to be like me.' Then he gave me these scriptures: Isaiah 40:11 "He tends his flock like a Shepard: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those who have young." and Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."
I immediately apologized to my kids for my lack of self control and for not being gentle with them. I then took a few minutes to look up the scriptures that I felt like the Lord was leading me too. I also found Proverbs 15:18. It says, "A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension but a patient man calms a quarrel." Had I kept my temper under control this morning I could have calmed my son down and stayed for chapel. But my hot temper only increased his anger.
To help me remember to be gentle with my sweet kiddos, I printed up these words: "Lead them gently" with Isaiah 40:11, Proverbs 15:18 and Proverbs 15:1 noted underneath. I posted them up in the house in places where I spend time when I am frustrated; By the sink, by the door, in my bathroom and on the kids note board.
See, what I already knew, but needed to relearn today is, gentleness is always the answer. The Lord is gentle with me. I have lots of littles running around this house. It is overwhelming and tiring to care for and pour out so much each day. But the Lord is gentle. He gives me just enough of what I need each day and he corrects me lovingly and gently when I mess up.
The Lord doesn't say that a harsh tone or volume of voice gets people angry. He says a harsh word can incite anger. I can keep a low voice and still say mean things that upset my children. My words are just as important as the tone that I use. This doesn't mean that I should not discipline my children. Let's face it, my son needs to learn self control, or he will have a harder life then what is necessary. What I believe the Lord is teaching me is that should discipline, but that I must do it gently. That discipline done harshly or in anger will not train my children, it will just stir up anger in them.
I do not know what you are struggling with. If you have lots of littles like me or if there is someone in your family life or work place that gets you frustrated. I encourage you to choose to be gentle with them. Be gentle with your words, your tone and your body language. I will be striving to do the same.