Sticks and Stones

September 20, 2010

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. 

To hear my kids say mean words to each other absolutely breaks my heart! We get into the van after church and the first thing I hear is one of my kids barking at the other. And, so it begins! I just do not understand how they have not figured out that it is not acceptable, or nice, or loving to talk to each other with rudeness and disrespect! They have to know that I will correct them. They have to know by now how much it upsets me for them to treat each other so mean. 

Maybe they can no longer hear the sound of my voice. Maybe when I open my mouth all they hear are the sounds of Charlie Brown's teacher. "Whamp whamp whamp whamp whamp whamp....." I am convinced it's true. 

How do I get them to change their ugly ways? Lord knows that they have so much love in their hearts for each other. I have seen it. But, they just cannot seem to get away from being selfish and intolerant. Am I a failure at teaching them how God wants us to treat each other? I have tried everything I can think of to explain to them how they should speak to each other. I have given them the alternatives to being ugly. I have shown them that they just get themselves into trouble needlessly when they scream at each other.

It is very draining for me. I get so tired refereeing all the time. And when I hear Aubree begin to speak with rudeness it just kills me. I know that she is learning it all from them! They have the potential to help me raise her in kindness, but, they choose the alternative all too often. She is learning how to behave from them. 

I am not going to quit correcting them. I am not going to give up on getting them to treat each other as humans. I will press on. Because it is what I am supposed to do. Because I love them. Because I know they love each other. Because eventually, they will get it, one way or another. I just have to figure it out. 

I must be very careful to keep track of my own behavior. I need to be certain at all time that I am not guilty of being unkind to others. And you know what? Sometimes, I get very short~ especially with my kids. Sometimes I am guilty of snapping at them when they do not deserve it. Sometimes I am less than patient and kind to them and in front of them. I have to be diligent in my efforts to be loving to everyone. I have to be an example to them, but, I am also commanded to do so as a child of God. 

As I write this, I can see that their behavior is probably pretty normal. They are practicing loving those who love them even when it is difficult. They are just not that good at it right now. But, I must be diligent with them, because as they grow, they will be faced with the challenge of being loving to those who do not love them. That is a whole different ball game. That is not an easy task, no matter who you are. 

"If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:46-48

"For you have been called to live in freedom- not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another." Galatians 5:13-15

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