Tuesday, August 14, 2007

On Being Gentle

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2 NIV.

I just read this particular verse for the first time today. Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Bear one another with love. It doesn't say be only humble, gentle, patient and loving with adults it says with one another, children included. How could I condone hitting my child after it's stated in God's law to be gentle? This single verse is enough to save the world from the violence that we've been thrown into. It's enough to save every child the fear they feel towrd their own parents.

I'm not perfect. In the past I have hit my children. I have swatted hands, given the butt a whap here and there when I thought they deserved it. Everytime I've felt guilty and sad. Everytime I've apologized. But not anymore. I've wrestled with it for along time. I've heard that if you don't whip them that they'll run wild and they won't learn how to behave properly. I've come to the conclusion that it's hogwash. I've learned to talk to my kids and to re-direct them when they are behaving badly. I've learned to not put them into situations that I know they will melt down or act out. My children aren't perfectly behaved, but why would I expect them to be. They are full of energy, they are curious..they are children. I don't believe in children should be seen and not heard. I want laughter in my house. I want fun excited screams. Most of all I don't want my children to be afraid of me. I don't want them doing what I expect from fear of being hit. I want them to know my reasons why I want things done a certain way and I want them to obey out of understanding, love and respect. I wouldn't hit an adult.. and I will not hit my child.

I made a small sign out of a paint stick with this verse written on it. It's now on my windowsill for everyone to see in my kitchen. It's right above the sink so that I can see it, meditate and pray over it while I'm doing dishes. I want this to be my family's verse. I want us always to live by those words.

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