We were having a wonderful morning. I had gotten up, prayed about our day, read my emails, got breakfast ready and had the kids eating breakfast together in their chairs. They were smiling, stuffing their faces with spoons and hands and everyone was doing great. Lance started to give the dog a spoonful of oatmeal, again, and that’s when I heard it, “No! Stop it!”, coming from little James’ mouth. This was the moment that all moms dread. When you hear you own negative words coming back at you from your children. Oh what I wouldn’t do to hear, “Honey, please don’t do that.” Sadly the nice version is not what comes out of my mouth in the midst of frustration. After everything calms down, that’s when I usually think about all the wonderful things that I could have said. Rather than wish and hope that I’ll start thinking on my feet better, I should take what I know I am and work with it. I know I don’t think fast so I need to work on practicing saying nicely, “Honey, please don’t do that.” We just finished watching two weeks of the olympics. Those people automatically do their sport. They practice every day, doing the same thing over and over until they can do it without thinking. That is the same dedication that I need to put into my words. I will recite those nice words until it’s good enough to win a gold medal in kindness.
Now, I don’t want to give you the impression that I never encourage my children because I do. Sometimes I forget about those encouraging moments that I give to my boys. I tend to forget about those times because they seem so insignificant. When praising a toddler, there’s no grand and glorious things that toddlers do. You don’t tell them a long and wonderful list of their character traits or how well they do at encouraging others or any number of things that you might extol on an older child. No, the encouragement that I give my toddler boys is about smaller and not very exciting things. Like most things a mother does for toddlers, they seem so insignificant but they are so important. It’s that smallness that makes me forget that I am encouraging them. They daily hear great job or nice effort, good catch or that’s kind of you to say I’m sorry. So I’m challenging myself to remember those times that I encourage my children. I’m also challenging myself to practice correcting my children in a kinder manner, because I do need to correct my children. May my words be gentle, but true, so that my precious boys will treasure those words of encouragement in their hearts for years to come.
Proverbs 25:11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.