Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Power of an Understanding Embrace

As we were finishing our dinner,
the children started asking me about the post dinner treat.
Had they eaten enough food, would they be getting the treat, what was the treat, etc.
One of the children had lost this privilege the day before, 
based on some repeated bad choices.
When I repeated the consequence, the wailing immediately began.  
"WHAT?!!  It's not fair!!"  Over and over again, screaming.
This was no surprise.  I expected this reaction.
The thing I didn't expect was the way I responded.

I took my child in my arms and said, 
"I know it is hard.  But, I cannot give you this privilege back."
My voice was soft and sympathetic.  My embrace was sincere.
My little one?  Calmed down.  The fight did not continue.
I was amazed.

My typical response would be a stern eye & a harsh tone saying, "well, I warned you!"
And the wailing and fighting would've continued.

Not this time.  Calm.  Listening.  This child felt understood.
I really shouldn't have been surprised by the power of a gentle answer.
I've know what Proverbs 15:1 says for 25 years.

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger"

Really sweet faces can turn away wrath, too.  I couldn't resist posting this one of Gillian from when she was 2.

1 comment:

Stef said...

yes! I am (slowly) learning this. I pray daily that God would help me to remember their little hearts need Christ like love and training. They're learning to make the right choices and use the right emotions, they're not born pros.

I've experienced this as well - when I'm patient, understanding and loving in my approach, my goodness, how our day goes differently!