Monday, June 02, 2008

Speaking kindly

"Who is the queen in Babyland?
Mother, kind and sweet;
And her love, born above,
Guides the little feet."
~English nursery rhyme

Sometimes I'll sing this little ditty to myself. I like to imagine myself as a kind, matronly figure in my children's life. I don't always succeed, but it is so important to remember to be kind to our family.

Because we are around our children so much, especially if homeschooling, then it seems there are more opportunities to be frustrated or agitated at our children. We can also look at it another way: more opportunities to practice kindness, cultivate patience, and and to be gentle with our children. It seems, like so many other things in our lives, it is about perspective. We are wired as humans to respond to gentleness and kindness...not harshness.

Kindness to our husbands
Because my plate is so full, and my days are consumed with my house and my children, my husband's needs too often get put on the back burner. In order to be serving and blessing my husband in my daily life, I have to choose to continually do this. I am blessed that my husband is a "server". He shows love by serving people, and he does it well. One way that I can show love to him is speaking to him kindly. Martha Peace says in her book The Excellent Wife:
Be especially cautious of your words, tone of voice, and countenance as you speak to your husband. Your words should be wholesome and edifying. Your tone of voice should be gentle and calm. Your countenance (a smile or pleasant expression) should show respect even when you disagree with him or he is obviously sinning. God will help you if you turn to Him. He is the "help of your countenance, and your God." (Psalm 42:11)

Kind words show respect to our husbands. And as most of us know, the Bible commands us to respect our men.

Kindness to our children
At the conference this past weekend, I attended a session on using gentleness and kindness towards our children. The speaker, Susan Kemmerer, gave two lists of very helpful ideas on how to be kind and gentle to our children. Here are the ones that stood out to me:

Putting on kindness:
1. Practice kindness.
2. Recognize that whatever comes from my mouth is born in my heart.
3. Allow no corrupt talk, in any form, to come out of my mouth.
4. Learn to love kindness.
5. Recognize the difference between childish immaturity and sin.

Pursuing gentleness:
1. Smile at your children.
2. Demonstrate constant affection toward your children.
3. Never speak in tones of sarcasm.
4. Do not raise your voice.
5. *Practice* speaking gently. 
6. Adorn yourself with gentleness and a quiet spirit.
7. Utilize your husband as an accountability partner in helping you grow in gentleness.

So, with these helpful ideas, I can hopefully continue to pursue kindness and gentleness in my life, with God's help. He desires that we all be that wife in the kitchen, and mother in the nursery, "kind and sweet". :)


L.L. Barkat said...

Looking forward to hearing your kind voice tomorrow. :)

Courtney said...

Thanks for this great post! I always enjoy your wonderful insight!

laura said...

thanks for the reminder at the end of another long monday. i enjoyed the book: homeschooling with a meek and gentle spirit- it really spoke to me along the same lines this school year with my little ones.

alli said...

what a convicting post - especially in light of the fact that we are doing a three week study in our church on Eph. 4:29. the Lord must really be trying to get my attention in this area. my words to my husband are not always kind, and even if they aren't mean, they are not spoken in the right tone. thank you for these edifying words.

Leslie said...

thanks for the beautiful thoughts...i know that those are some of the things i could stand to work on in my home with my husband and children.

Kristi said...

I just found your blog and I'm really enjoying it!!

Anonymous said...

Andrea, thank you for sharing some of the gems from the conference. And for blessing the Baria home with kindness.

Proverbs 31:26 (ESV):
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Jaime G @ said...

Thanks for the reminder. It's refreshing to read these thoughts from someone in my own generation... I have found it to be rare, but a gem.

I will try harder to be kind, gentle, and sweet today!

Jaime G

Elise said...

I really needed this today, friend... Eliana and I have been speaking about "being a lady", and there is much to still be learned... by me. :)

Thank you- I linked to this in my sidebar!

Beck said...

Your posts have this astonishing ability to be just the very thing I needed to read on a certain day and this post struck me so much that I printed it out and stuck it on my fridge, to remind me.

Brenda said...

I really need to work on this--especially at certain times of the month. Ahem.

It's not their fault if Mommy is having a bad day.

Susan L said...

Excellent, Andrea! I really appreciate everything you put in this post. I was just reading something like/about this in Hints on Child Training last week-- about *never* scolding children. Correction is needed, but there's a right way and a wrong way to speak to our children. Your post is certainly the right way! :-)

Susan L

Miriam said...

This is such a good reminder - thank you, Andrea. It reminds me of the Proverb: "Pleasant words promote instruction." (In the 15th chapter, I believe.)

Carrie at dumptrucksandteacups said...

We our able to bring such life to our family by the words that we speak... life or death.

This was such a good reminder! Thank you, my friend.

Love, Carrie

Terry said...

What a wonderful, wisdom filled post, Andrea. Thank you.

Kristy said...

Thank you for this reminder... boy, is this an area I struggle with. It's encouraging to know that other women are striving in the same direction- to be godly wives and mamas!

I look forward to reading your blog on a regular basis.

~Kristy @ Homemaker's Cottage

Monica said...

Your blog is such a blessing to me. God has used it countless times to meet me where I am and provide me with a gentle reminder. My husband and children thank you, too.

tonia said...

i've been praying and thinking about this a lot lately....teenagers change things up, you know. thanks for the list. i have copied it into my journal.

A said...

Thank you very much for sharing these thoughts.

Monica said...

Thank you so much for posting this. This has been on my heart recently!

Goodlikeamedicine said...

Oh Andrea, I needed this post right now! Thank you :)

P.S. He loves you... said...

Another great post!!!
I'm tacking your blog to me "love me some blogs list"...Thanks for being a "light beacon!"

Lori said...

Thank you for the reminder that while our little ones are struggling with sin, some issues are also the result of childish immaturity (#5)-- hence the command to "train up" our children. Sometimes I am so angered and grieved by an action or response, that I loose sight of the fact that is my job to teach the appropriate behavior. Thank you for the encouragement!

Bethany Hudson said...

Thank you for a wonderful reminder and vision for cultivating this fruit of the Spirit in our homes and souls.


Mrs. U said...

Oh boy, did I need to "hear" this message!!!! Thank you for sharing this (and I just copied down both lists to read over daily!!!). I just recently spoke with a friend about how I've been correcting my daughter lately. I told her that I am not the kind and loving mother I would like to be. I most definitely will be praying about and working on gentleness and kindness in my life toward my children and toward my husband.

I have been sharpened. Thank you. :)

Mrs. U

Natasha said...

Thank you for this post! I found it so encouraging. As a young wife, I know that I need to work on pursuing kindness toward my husband and my (God willing) future children. I want to start preparing NOW!

I have copied this post into a note book so that I can continue to be challenged. Thank you!

Bethgem said...

Aw, I love this post!

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