Over the course of my weekend I had several opportunities to “interact” with my kids. And by interact, I mean yell at them for doing things that I found to be annoying. And by annoying, I mean normal things that all kids do like dump ALL of the school supplies that my wife had worked so hard to separate out into one big pile on the floor. I’ve also begun to really notice just how much kids talk. OMG, they ask questions all the friggin’ time, it’s freaking ridiculous how much attention they demand just by exhaling and engaging their voice box.
Anyway, as I was driving in to work today I was reflecting on my weekend and what it was like in regards to my kids and I started to feel bad once I realized how I had actually “talked” to my kids. I asked myself if I’d still use that same tone of voice if the person, who had done whatever it was that the child in question had done, wasn’t my child. What if it was a coworker or my spouse (well that’s not fare, I yell at her all the time too ;)) that I was talking to? Would I approach them the same way or use more tact? Obviously (I say to myself) I’m not socially uncouth so I know that I would have used a more….amiable tactic to try and achieve the same results.
Which quite succinctly brings me to my simple point. Just because my kids are my kids and just because they do stupid kid-like things and just because they talk all the friggin’ time and get on my every last nerve does not give me any more right to talk down to them or “yell” at them than I might normally have. So I put myself in their shoes for a minute and here’s what I came up with.
What happens when people yell at us or talk down to us?? We get angry. I’d have to imagine that my kids get angry with me too when I don’t control my tongue with them. The Bible tells us to not provoke our children to anger.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.- Ephesians 6:4
A simple way to obey this is to talk to our kids with respect, always. Even if that means that for a while you have to pretend that they’re a coworker or our spouse, or to put it another way, someone with whom we wish to earn respect. Just treat them like they are people, because ultimately they are their own person, otherwise they wouldn’t use that little mind of theirs to do things that annoy us.