I shall not tell you a lie.
I’ve embarrassed myself as a parent. Mostly it in the privacy of my home.
After all, I’m a B.O.S.S. daddy in public. Ladies see me and be like, “Oooh, isn’t he the best daddy?” I can get backtalked in the grocery store and give the, “Now little honey sugar boo, it sounds like you have an unhappy heart. Would you like to try that again?” spiel. #DaddyGame
But inside the walls of our home, I can do exactly what Wendy Speake describes in chapter 2 of her collaborative book, Triggers:
When we exchange angry words for angry words, nasty face for nasty face, slamming door for slamming door, and tear them down with our words because they tore us down with theirs, they will never feel remorse for their own actions (p.28).
I have a glare that has made my children cry. Yep. Not everyone who wears cardigans is a pushover. I’ve forcibly placed my books on the table (read, slammed). I have yelled from one end of the house to the other.
As Speak points out, though, how are kids to know they should be doing anything different if mom or dad mirror the exact same behavior the kids are generating?
Answer: They don’t.
They have to be discipled. And we are always discipling them, no matter our responses. Those little ladies and gents are being discipled to live a particular way. But you know this. The reason you do those things your parents did that you said you didn’t want to do, is because you were their disciple.
Christian parents show kids an alternative and more attractive way of living, an in this world but not of this world way of life. This includes responding to conflict, asking for things, apologizing, expressing dissatisfaction, and all the other learned responses/actions/attitudes.
So it’s Monday. Could this week look different in your home? Does it require a change in tone? Perhaps a knee bend to get down at eye level with the little one? Maybe a quick prayer before answering?
Let’s show them something different. Something better. Something out of this world.
May we all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.