When I hear sharp, harsh, or smart words come out of my children's mouths, I cringe at how horribly similar the tone sounds to mine when I was a child, or when I respond to them in harshness, instead of loving kindness and patience.
Side note: If you know my kids and hear, or have heard, them say things like 'stupid', 'hate', or other such vile things, don't assume they've heard that from me! I'm not saying I speak in an abusive manner to my kids. What I am saying, is the words of correction I speak, are all too often spoken in a tone of frustration or anger that, if overheard, would embarrass the snot out of me, and frequently causes me to feel disappointment in my parenting.
I just read a paragraph in a book, Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp, that convicted me enough to get me out of the chair, leaving my iced coffee behind, to sit at the computer and type this public confessional...
"Like any area of theological truth, the key to growth is not the cognitive identification of truth. It is the understanding the pertinence of that truth in daily life. You and your children must understand the fear of the Lord in a manner that reorganizes your lives."
I love reorganizing most things, so why not this. The reality is, I hear it when it starts, I just feel more justified then I do convicted, in the moment, to soften my tongue. However, after the fact, conviction hits pretty hard. They are such sweet, albeit occasionally disrespectful and disobedient kids (like ALL who have gone before them), and they deserve my best. Those moments are far from it. They deserve what God has called us as parents to do, which is to lovingly correct and discipline them, not scold them harshly. So, I'm bringing a piece of my broken parenting to the cross today, to lay down what I once thought was harmless, and replace it with Proverbs 15:4, A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but cutting words break the spirit.