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.
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)