Thursday, November 11, 2010

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". :)

(repost from archives: june 2008)


Jenny said...

Thank you so much for this post. I need to tape this, um...everywhere. I haven't read The Excellent Wife in a couple of years. I need to dig it back out. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

How different my home would be if I could be more like that! I have been trained by the world (and my childhood) that stress is an excuse to abuse the emotions of those around me, and recently the Lord has shown me that this is so false. Stress is simply a temptation to lose my cool, and the gospels tell me over and over to watch and pray that I may avoid temptation. I am trying so hard to retrain myself to first flee temptation and stress, second nurture those I love with my attitude rather than striving to please them with my works.
This is a wonderful reminder. Again, you have blessed and encouraged me, Andrea. Thank you. ~L

Betsy said...

Thanks, a. I felt like you posted this especially for me!! I needed to hear it. Beautiful words and sentiment. I so yearn to be a kind mama and wife. Sometimes I wonder if it's really in me?! With the Lord's help and guidance He can always reveal a better way. For He leads us ever so gently :)
Love you. B

jessica kiehn said...

this is so good. Thank you:)
Just the other day my sweet little one was screaming...for a long time...nonstop, and it was wearing on me. I was getting hot and bothered and I hit a breaking point and I punched the arm of the rocking chair I was sitting in out of frustration. My daughter sensed my anger and screamed louder and it broke my heart. I realized she doesn't ever need to see me lose my cool like that. Our children look to us to be a safe place, a consistent place of love, and it's unsafe and scary when we respond like I did.

My husband understood I needed a break and said he'll watch her and settle her so I could go take a drive and just pray and take a breather.

And the word that I kept hearing as i was driving around, talking to my Father was "gentleness". It opened the floodgates and brought so much revelation to the type of parenting I want my children to have.

And here, I see your post and it covers absolutely everything the Spirit spoke to me on that night.
I love when that happens...

Sally Clarkson said...

Very Sweet Post! I love your gentle heart and spirit. May He bless you with peace today. So great to have seen you and have your face and friendship in my heart.

Andrea said...

This post is timely for me---every day. Thank you. My struggle is with an unserving husband. I am weary of being the one who never takes a break. I know I need one badly with 4 kiddos under 8 but I cannot see it happening without a fight. But I know God will be my strength when I am so very weak. And these precious moments alonde (like now) do come.

Anonymous said...

Andrea's comment above does bring up an interesting to serve a husband who is himself unserving, by either choice or by circumstance.

Can a wife serve long term a husband who is unwilling to be serving himself?

Can and should are two different things. In practical terms, can a marriage be strong, good, and enduring when when partner serves and the other does not?

Andrea said...

Andrea and Anonymous~
Both great comments.
The book I mentioned in this post: The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace addresses this so very well--spiritually and practically.
It would be--for me-- extremely difficult to serve a husband who is unserving. If you are struggling in this area, I really recommend Martha's book.

payton said...

I so needed this!