Does this sound familiar?
“Young lady, do not talk to me that way! You must talk to your mother with respect!” (I wish you could hear me say that. Just imagine a massive ‘tude and you’ll get it.)
I often demand respect from my children, but do I always give it to them? Am I modelling the appropriate attitude, or am I letting my anger and annoyance come out in the way I speak to my kids?
These questions and self-examination have prompted this new blog series. Go with me as I delve into the reasons behind the attitude and what we can do to curb it once and for all.
In my life I have been fortunate to have some very wise women who speak truth to me, hold me accountable, and call me out when I need it. The two women that come to mind right off the bat are my mother and my grandmother.
I can recall a time my mother took my husband’s side in one of our arguments. She graciously pointed out to me that I was not being fair to him. She was right, of course. She sweetly convicted me, helping my attitude change back to that of a wife who assumes the best of her husband.
And another time I was wallowing in self-pity. It was beyond just an afternoon’s worth of self-pity. I had been living in it for months. My grandmother, whose gift is sending cards and notes just when people need them, sent me a letter. Instead of giving me a stern talking to with her written words, she shared some of her own struggles and offered her own wisdom on how she overcame them. Basically, she helped me see my reality with gratitude, and that shifted me out of my attitude of self-pity. I still have that note, tucked into my Bible.
My mother and her mother are my role models. They are examples of the kind of mother I want to be. I know they didn’t exude wisdom all of the time they were parenting their small children, but they inspire me to be as wise as I can in the season that I’m in.
In order to adjust our attitude, we must first be wise with our words.
In Proverbs 31 we can read the description of a Godly woman and mother. And of course, a Godly woman is aware of the power of her words and the attitude with which she delivers them.
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. -Proverbs 31:26, NLT
Sometimes, my life resembles the opposite of this description. My instructions to my children are often barked out, in a hurry. My words, instead of coming out with an air of wisdom, come out with the sting of annoyance.
How do we be more like this amazing Proverbs 31 woman? How do we make sure our words are wise and kind?
For me, I know I have to be aware of my triggers.
As I mentioned above, the instructions that I give when I’m in a hurry are the ones that come out with an attitude. I don’t handle stress well, and being rushed is just one such situation. I must catch myself tensing up in those moments and try extra hard to keep myself calm. I will shoot a prayer to God to ask for peace and for patience.
A mom who issues wise words is aware of the power of her words. Anyone who survived middle school knows this. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This is so not true. Our words to our children have the power to build them up or tear them down. And unfortunately, it’s our destructive words that have the tendency to be remembered.
If you’re like me, I find I need more of this awareness. I need to slow down, think, and then choose my words. I cannot let the stress of busyness be my excuse.
My children deserve better than that.
Prayer: Dear Father, Please help me to be aware of my words and the attitude with which I deliver them. Help me to “build my kids up in the Lord” (Romans 15:2, NLT). Give me your peace and your patience in those moments when my stress builds. Help me be the wise woman my children deserve. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.