We all grew up with sayings…
I’m sure you’ve heard the timeless:
“If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.”
My experience of today’s “We get what we get and we don’t throw a fit.” was a little more gruff:
“Well, life’s not fair. Tough.”
Perhaps the most non-politically correct of all was:
“I brought you into this world…I can take you out of it.”
(Because moms don’t really have the right to take their children out. Unless they want to do some serious jail-time.)
I chuckle as I think back on some of the sayings that I grew up with... Then I began to write down all the sayings that I’ve found myself using with my own children. I’ve deemed them shareable, so here’s the start of the Momma Says Series. I hope these will encourage you - and perhaps challenge you.
“Show Respect. Choose Kind.”
How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!
I’m a mother of four young children (ages 9, 7, 5, and 3). We pastor and homeschool and every other year (when the apples are in abundance) I make my own Apple Butter. (Because it’s easier to do that then to sew all our own clothes!)
There’s a whole lot of “living together” in our house! In fact, we are together more often than we are not. We go to church together. We go camping together. We do school together. We go on bike rides together. We eat ice cream together. We even run errands and buy groceries together.
Yes, there’s a whole lot of “together”!
And when you spend as much time together as we do - it creates opportunities for family members to get frustrated, annoyed, offended, and even bored with the ones that we get to call our own.
With that being said, one of the quickest ways we can put the frustration, annoyance, offense, and boredom to bed is by taking the Respect and Kindness Test.
And it’s as simple as answering two questions with a “Yes” or “No”.
Basically, in the situations where there is lacking unity, I ask:
Are you showing ‘Respect’?
Are you choosing ‘Kind’?
And if the answer is “No”, then the guilty party must take the steps necessary to make their mess right. Because when you make a mess, you make it right.
Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
And without being manipulative, one of the quickest ways to earn someone’s respect is to give it to them first!
The Bible also reveals that one of the fruits of the spirit (meaning a by-product of spending time with Jesus) is that there is evident kindness coming from your heart and life.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
And if there is ever a choice to be made - to retaliate or reconcile - I instruct my children to:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Kindness is a powerful force! It has the ability to defuse some pretty intense situations that would blow up like a bomb without it.
And in some of those intense situations - when one is right and the other is wrong - I remind my children that, “You can be right, and still be wrong.” Meaning, the way you go about saying or showing your “two cents” matters!
The way we treat others is important! In fact, Jesus gave us some pretty radical guidelines:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
And the path to doing just that is to: