These are the words I constantly say to my two boys. It seems that they have decided that it is okay to talk to me in a disrespectful way. The funny thing about it is that I say back to them, "Watch your tone with me young man." And guess what kind of tone I use?
You guessed it!
A mean spirited one.
I would justify it by thinking that I am just demanding respect, showing them who's boss, enlighting them to who has authority over them. After all God appointed Paul and I to be their authority, right?
Well....today in my quiet time the Lord revealed something very eye-opening to me. I heard His gentle voice say, "How is your tone being received?"
Paul had always said that I have a harsh tone sometimes. He will yell from across the house when he needs me, "Kerry!"
And I would yell back, "What!" But my "what" is not in a "how can I help you" way. It is more like, "What now" kind of way. Like he is annoying me.
Which leads me to another observation.....We are a yelling family! I hate it! We are always yelling from the top or bottom of the stairs. We are yelling from room to room. We yell when our kids are not obeying (as if getting louder will do the trick).
Now I am not saying that yelling is wrong. There are times that we need to yell. If Parker or Tanner are about to get hit by a car, I am not going to whisper their names. You better believe I am going to yell from the top of my lungs. But what I have realized is that I yell when yelling isn't even necessary and definitely not in an encouraging tone. I say things in the "you're annoying me" tone. I am going to be honest...I struggle with this. Because to be honest, sometimes they are annoying me.
So here is where the rubber meets the road. My children are going to hear harsh tones and hurtful words all day from other kids or even teachers (who like us, don't realize they are doing it). I want to encourage them and build up their self-esteem. Not tear it down! I have a bad habit of making my boys feel like they are the scum of the earth for being so disrespectful.
Here is what The Power of a Positive Mom has to say:
"When our children have nothing positive to believe about themselves, their emotional bank accounts can become bankrupt---overdrawn by the negative comments and disappointments that occur every day in the world around them."
"We need to be deliberate about building up our children's strengths and putting regular deposits in their emotional bank accounts."
Now you are probably thinking I am not giving myself enough grace. You would never witness my harshness because I would put my best foot forward with my friends. But when there is no one around my guard is down.Yuck! Why can't I just realize that God is still watching?
So my challenge is to become more aware of the tone I am using and what I am communicating to them. I want to love them the way Christ loves them. I want to point them to Jesus! I want to encourage them to become the men that God called them to be. I want them to know that no matter what....I love them and think great things about them.
Dear Precious Lord, be with me today as I point Parker and Tanner towards You. May my words and tone be firm yet gentle and loving when they disobey or have a mean spirit. I pray that my first reaction would not be to have a mean spirit back, but I would show them to react to disappointments with the power of the Holy Spirit. I also pray that you would stop us when we start to yell with harsh tones. Remind Paul and I that we are to be examples and help us to make a change in the way we respond. ~amen
"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." ~Proverbs 12:25