After an orthodontist appointment last week I swung into the grocery store with three of my kids. I loaded up the car and proceeded to return my cart.
Then it happened- Cursing, yelling and name calling.
What appeared to be a young Grandmother (walking with them was a mother/girl with an infant) proceeded to grab her grandchild's arm whom was maybe only 6 years old.
What caught me off guard was the little boy. As his wrist was being pulled along he didn't say a word, but quietly looked ME straight in the eye. Literally. Not even as embarrassment, but a blank hurting stare.
I felt stunned.
Granted we all have heard the Mom or Dad chewing kids out while shopping at the grocery store. Dropping the f-bomb or calling them obscenities named for a donkey. We politely ignore it with our head down or roll our eyes and push our cart away. Yet, this was different.
Elizabeth heard the commotion and we got in the van. I watched in grief. She shoved him in the car, yelling other choice words. I wanted her to see me watching. I did stare and I hoped she noticed. I wanted to help him. There was nothing I could do. Grandma shut the SUV door and lit a cigarette while her daughter got in the back with the infant.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
My heart broke and was angry at the same time. I can only imagine this is the life this boy comes home to every day after school.
Then I looked at my own heart. The sad reality is I face the same issues everyday. God has been schooling me in my tone and the very harsh words I use with my own children.
This Grandmother's sin is no different than mine.
The gift God has given me is grace. Redemption in Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts me of wrong and turns my heart to repentance.
I have taken the advice of a schooled mother to gently get down to my child's level and speak to them with a soft, firm, corrective tone. It is amazing when put to practice.
Recently, as a family we listened to a bible study on anger. Four points given when correcting children: "CALF" Calm. Attentive. Loving. Firm.
Talk about convicting when your children are sitting in the room with you!
We need to be aware how anger can consume our home if we are not careful.
A soft answer turns away wrath, the Proverbs say. Wrath in myself and even bitterness in my child or teenager.
"Parents can often see their own shortcomings and failures in the sinful behavior of their children! When parents realize that their children have inherited their own even natures, this should make them very patient and wise in disciplining their children...
Let all your dealings with the children be done in love. Angry words, sharp reproof and impatient answers are infectious. Love demands self- sacrifice. It takes time, attention and perseverance to train our children in God's ways." -Raising Your Children for Christ, Andrew Murray
There was nothing I could do for that little boy. All I could do was pray.
God help me to see those eyes in my own children when I am tempted to tear them down.
When was the last time you yelled at your child? Did you feel justified? What are they learning from you? Have you tried to use a soft assertive voice? Why not try?
From one parent to another,