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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Use Your Words

"You don't have to cry about the little hurts"
This is a quote I heard from my friend a mother of three when her daughter had a tiny boo boo and the littler girl was trying so hard not to cry. The mother gently reminded her, and I realized how many times this has happened to my kids and it would be so easy to just shout, "Get up, it's nothing. You're a big girl now, don't cry about it." My approach is a bit belittling and uncompassionate. I think my friend's words are much more empowering and meaningful.

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted
and bandages their wounds.

Back to the Bible
It happened this evening at 5:30pm. I got so fed up with kids fighting and crying and tattletaling about every stupid small thing every 5 seconds I turned around to stir something on the stove. I rebuked my kids with scripture. I was that angry that I actually looked up this bible verse that randomly kept popping up in my head and I did not shout, for once.
Proverbs 19:11 New International Version (NIV)
A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

For all the times I've been mad or upset and shouted something mean in return, perhaps it would be more effective to use words from the bible. They copy everything I say anyway, so let it be something good and sweet.

To Speak Kind Words
Here is my collection of bible references for every situation that bothers me about the kids - complaining about the food, not falling asleep, having trouble putting snowpants on, being scared of monsters...

Proverbs 16:24 New International Version (NIV)
24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
An expert told me that kids sometimes hit because of the lack of language. It takes so much effort for AJ to say to Maggie "Please stop doing that annoying sound that bothers me, and you are too close to my face". It's probably much easier to just clock the sibling in the face or push them away to the ground.  It takes more strength to control one's temper. I've told my daughter to count to 5 when she starts getting mad; and there are times when she has reminded me to do that. Amazing.

Proverbs 29:8 (NASB)

8 Scorners set a city aflame,
But wise men turn away anger.

Just Eat It
My daughter recently became a very good eater and often finishes two bowls of whatever portion we gave her. However there was a time when she complain about onions, or the black speck of pepper, or the broccoli being too hard or soft, the pasta was the wrong shape, the chicken tastes gross (garlic perhaps), butter not margarine, cream cheese not jam on a crossaint not toasted but warm. There are days sometimes even now, when she would rather have a bowl of cheerios and milk than that yummy pot roast or snipped green beans.

Instead of guilt-tripping her about the hungry children all over the world, this might be a good verse. Also I could remind her to be thankful about the food.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

She Made me Do it
So many times, Maggie and AJ get into trouble with something like jumping into the couch or hiding in the tangled curtains or wrestling on the ground till someone cries. AJ's excuse is always, "Well it was Maggie's idea!" How many times have we heard the "She made me do it" excuse. That was the explanation for the original sin that came into the world back in the Garden of Eden.

"Be a man, do the right thing". If you know Russel Peters (east asian standup comedic in Canada) who likes to poke fun at his own race and asians, then you'll know this quote. Know what is right and just do it.

However yesterday, I remember that Maggie and AJ were quietly watching TV when she said to her brother, "Hey AJ do you want to climb on me?" What the heck? Who does that and why?? AJ actually said, "No I don't want to do that it's not good". I caught it in my ear so I commended him for doing the right thing. If something is not right, yah use your words and tell someone you're not doing it.

Philippians 2:14-16
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out[c]the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Afraid of the Dark, Monsters, Zombies, dark rooms

Psalm 27:1
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

I can't blame them for being scared of the storage room door behind wide open or going down to the basement to get something. I used to be that way if my mother sent me to the fridge downstairs to grab eggs. I remember singing hymns at the top of my lungs cuz it made me less afraid. "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone! Because I know-- He holds the future. And life is worth a living, just because he lives". Nothing spooks me too much anymore, but I would like to show the kids that God can help them in the time of trouble.

Help Me Do it By Myself
I have seen them get fully dressed to go out tobogganing outside in the big back yard. I'm pretty sure all the kids at school get dressed all on their own cuz there's  no way two teachers can help 26 kids do that. I've made it my point every morning to start the dress up routine at 7:45AM and let it take the full 30 minutes to get into the car to drive too the bus stop for the 8:16AM bus. I've made it a point to not help them too much though I know I could totally shove them into "snowpants, boots, jacket, and hat" in under 2 minutes if I dressed them. Why? Training them to be independent,  a future investment perhaps, to save time in the future.

Philippians 4:13
13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

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