Thursday, October 17, 2013

I Did. I Screeched. At. My. Child.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to encourage one of my kids and really use the opportunity to make the links in the chain of our relationship stronger and bring him close to my heart. Instead?

I blew it. 

Major. Parenting. Fail. 

We couldn't immediately find my son's soccer team when we got to the field. I know him, and I know what he was thinking. There was chaos and commotion, and he was unwilling to jog around and actually find his team. Instead, he hung back, dribbling his ball and surveying the situation. Slowly. Methodically.  Reluctantly.

I, however, was in a hurry.


So I commanded, voice dripping with irritation, 'Go to the field AND FIND YOUR TEAM!!' He jogged off, but as I turned to go, a mother and her teenage son were watching what had just gone down. I knew that she could probably sympathize with me--kids have a way of bringing out the worst in us at times--but I was embarrassed that they had just witnessed me screeching at my child.

Not me.

I'm an introvert. He's an introvert. It's not a hard thing to have sympathy for another person's plight, especially when you understand exactly what they're thinking in any given situation. But I allowed my own agenda (and annoyance at his tortoiselike ways) to dictate how I treated my child, with no thought to his feelings or respect for his person.

I wouldn't like it if someone spoke to me the way I spoke to him.

It's not about what I said, although I could have used a lower octave. It's all about the tone and the frustration. He knew he needed to find his team, and my insistence that he do it quickly so I could jet wasn't helping. He also probably wishes he were a little more outgoing so situations like the one a few days ago didn't bother him so much. So making it obvious that he was not doing it quickly enough for me was probably embarrassing for him, and made me look like every other frustrated, wild-eyed, harried mother out there who screams instead of talks and probably drives crazy, too.

In her book Unglued, Lysa TerKeurst talks about three rules that she has in her house when her people speak (she also touched on the topic today in her devotion on the Proverbs 31 website): are the words kind, necessary, and true? And I'm going to add in my own extension of her idea: do my tone of voice and my facial expression match my kind, necessary and true words? Because most of the time in my case, my tone and expressions belie my words, kind, necessary and true as they may be.

I can't just suddenly stop being irritated when things don't go the way I planned, but I can stay in close communication with God all day long. In her devotional book Jesus Calling, Sarah Young states what should be obvious but I tend to forget the minute I snap my Bible shut: "Because I am always by your side, the briefest glance can connect you with Me. When you look to Me for help, it flows freely from My Presence...The Promise of my Presence is a powerful protection."

I really do want to be an encouragement to my family. I want to build them up, speak kindness to their hearts, and create close bonds that will stay strong. I know that everyone has their ups and downs, and fortunately, kids are really good at forgiving--and forgetting.

I could take a few notes from the pages of their books, too.

Therefore encourage one another
and build one another up...
{1 thessalonians 5:11}

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