Sunday, January 22

It's How You Say It

Read Matthew 19:13-28

It’s not so much what you say

As the manner in which you say it;

It’s not so much the language you use

As the tone in which you convey it;

“Come here!” I sharply said,

And the child cowered and wept....

As moms it easy for us to talk with an edge in our voice. I’ve even heard women say their children won’t listen to them unless they are yelling. It feels that way at times. We often condition them to only respond when we are really, really, really angry instead of requiring obedience with kindly spoken words and reinforcements.

I am now seeing firsthand what I look like when I speak harshly. I found an amazing deal, a huge wood mirror at a second hand shop. I painted it and asked my husband to hang it in the living room above the fireplace. It’s now the focal point of the room. You can see it from anywhere in the room. The mirror itself looks great, Pottery Barn would be proud. I didn’t realize how revealing it would be….

Several times lately I’ve spoken harshly to my children, “Stop doing that,” “Get in here and put on your shoes,” and I glance up to see my reflection in that huge mirror. Eye brows smooshed together like a grouchy giant, mouth puckered up like I’m about to spit tacks. Angry Mommy. She sure isn’t pretty and I am afraid of my own reflection.

Jesus’ disciples knew about being irritated with children. I imagine they had the same sour expressions when they tried to push away the children crowding around Jesus. He had had a busy day and children tend to pester at the most inconvenient times.

“Then little children were brought to Jesus for him 

to place his hands on them and pray for them. 

But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me

and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven 

belongs to such as these." 

When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.”

(Matthew 19:13-15)

Jesus took a moment to speak kindly to the children. This is a powerful example of how we should treat our own children. When the first tendency is to rebuke, yell, snap, or roar (as my 4 year old tells me), speak kindly instead. Instead of scowling eyebrows and a puckered frown, imagine your face in the mirror. Act as Jesus did and let the little children come.

...“Come here,” I said-

He looked and smiled

And straight to my lap he crept.

Words may be mild and fair

And the tone may pierce like a dart;

Words may be soft as the summer air

But the tone may break my heart;

For words come from the mind

Grow by study and art-

But tone leaps from the inner self

Revealing the state of the heart.

Whether you know it or not,

Whether you are mean or care,

Gentleness, kindness, love and hate,

Envy, anger, are there.

Then, would you quarrels avoid

And peace and love rejoice?

Keep anger not only out of your words-

Keep it out of your voice.

~ Author Unknown

Click on image to make it larger, use as a free coloring page
for your children if you would like.

* Written by Alysun Peters, writing as mom to 3 with one on the way. Hoping, surviving and thriving because of God's grace. Wife to an incredible farmer guy, country dwelling, family loving, joy seeker.


amyrumney said...

Boy, I needed to hear this today. Thank you!

Kari said...

definitely one of my ongoing challenges, my tone and expression...

KaraD said...

Thanks for sharing this today, Alysun. I can always use this reminder!

Kendra said...

wow! Perfect timing! Just when I needed to hear this the most. Thank you!