My kids could probably eat their weight in pancakes. Landon could care less about syrup, thank God! His 15-month hands would be a hot mess! But Kendyl, on the other hand, pours on the sticky maple goodness before she digs in. I have to pull up her hair before she eats because if not, her gorgeous blonde curls become a sticky, icky mess.
So many times, God speaks such valuable wisdom to us in the simplest ways. Like this particular morning. My hair was pulled up with a hot pink scrunchie. Kendyl needed her hair pulled back so maple syrup wouldn’t take over her golden locks. I simply took the hair bow from my hair and used it to pull here out of her face. And there it was. The sweet, gentle voice of God.
We pass so much down to our children; sometimes more than we would like to. Our nature, our habits, our likes and dislikes.. We love Mexican food, now our kids love it. When we ask Kendyl to pick somewhere to go for lunch it’s usually, “You know Mexican is my favorite, Mom!” I’m not sure if it’s because of the cheese dip or the mints she gets afterwards, but the girl loves her Mexican food. If my hair is down, she wants her hair down. Gary walks around being goofy and patting his stomach. It’s no shocker that Landon does this now. Grinning from ear to ear, he walks in the kitchen patting that cute little belly.
Our kids watch everything we do. Especially in the early years of life before they start school. Even more so if you’re a stay at home mom or work from home. They’re such copy cats at this age. They mimic faces and sounds, behavior and habits. Please tell me I’m not the only one who finds this scary! I’m not the most patient person and frequently voice my frustrations in rather barbaric ways. You know, grunting and huffing and puffing and the occasional throwing up of hands? That’s me Unfortunately. And my two sweet babies are right there looking up at me thinking, “Oh, that’s what we do when we’re upset. This is how to respond when we don’t get our way. This is what we do when someone ticks us off.”
Ever walked in on your darling daughter fussing at her Barbies the way that you fuss at her? “If I see you don’t that one more time, you’re getting a spanking, you understand me?” Ehh.. That stings a bit. Have you ever heard your son screaming at his toy for not going through the right hole in the box? Sigh.. It’s us! Where else would they pick it up? They copy the behavior they witness first hand.
God has really been dealing with me on this for a while. I get frustrated easily. I wouldn’t say I’m a hot head, but I’m impatient and cranky when I’m constantly faced with the same thing over and over. When I’ve requested a particular pair of underwear to be thrown in the dirty clothes instead of the middle of the floor, I don’t know, seven times? I get flustered. And many times I raise my voice. I get upset and yell. Why would I be shocked that when my kids want to get my attention or prove a point, they yell back at me? Now we have created a war zone on home turf.
Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” There is so much truth packed into this tiny verse. Think about it. When you raise your voice, it causes the other person to get feisty and raise their voice above yours, further making you raise your voice. Fight or flight overtakes both of you and neither of you can calmly hold a conversation. Neither of you can process what the other is saying because you both feel frustrated and attacked.
We must devise a plan of attack and put it in place for when we feel ourselves about to have a cosmic meltdown. I love Jim Bob and Michelle Dugger from 19 Kids and Counting. I have one of their books and really enjoy their stories and wisdom they’ve gained in so many years of raising children. One of their battle plans is a whisper. It may sound crazy thinking a whisper would be effective having a house overflowing with children, but they swear by it. They said that when they feel themselves getting upset and about to yell, they purposefully lower their voice to a whisper. They have even given their kids the permission to gently tell them when they are getting to that danger point. Wow, wow, wow.
I’m trying to adopt this whisper theory. I mean, it couldn’t be any worse than it is now. I feel like our house is a war zone on some days and I hate it. I despise it. Not my family, but the chaotic atmosphere. When we blow up constantly at our kids, we come across so unstable, both to our kids and innocent bystanders.
Ephesians 6:4 instructs us, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Remember the Golden Rule that we learned back in elementary school? Treat other the way that you want to be treated. Would you like a hard core drill sergeant in your face spitting out commands for sun up to sun down? Unless you have military in your blood, I highly doubt it.
In my quiet time this morning, I prayed God would help me be the mother my children need today. Today that might mean being the calm, gentle embrace my daughter needs on her first visit to the G.I. doctor to see why she keeps having stomach problems. Instead of insisting she’s fine and doesn’t need to be scared and drag her in kicking and screaming, I’m going to try to put myself in her shoes and just love and support her. Fears are so real to children and they need our support instead of an iron fist all the time.
Are you with me? Will you arm yourself with a gentle whisper and use those unruly chaotic moments as teachable moments today? Remember, we teach our kids how to respond. We pass down so much to them, hot pink scrunchies included. I’m all in. How about you? Can’t wait to hear how your day went!
Living life unscripted,