Respecting Our Children

Years ago when my husband and I were at a missions training center, we talked a lot about conflict styles. I came to an interesting realization during that time-- I interact one way with those closest to me and completely differently with others. I was surprised by that realization, but simply accepted it.

Years later, I am pondering that fact more, and finally . . . unaccepting of it.

Just a little over a year ago I had a heart to heart with my husband and he opened up in a way, truthfully, I had never allowed before. I loved my husband, respected him, and adored him, but I didn't show that love and respect in the way I talked to him. After he opened up to me about how he felt, what I would have considered a good marriage took a major turn, and became amazing. The last year has taken us on a major road of me learning how to truly submit to my husband, and respect him in ways I had never before -- particularly in the way I spoke to him.

Why is it that those closest to us often bear the brunt of our worst behavior? I just accepted that fact as normal for too long. Last year began my journey to change that fact. It started with my husband, and well, honestly, that was the easy part. He is a great man, respects and loves me, and doesn't constantly do things to frustrate me.

However, there are these little people who live with me that I adore, love, and cherish, but who constantly do things to annoy and frustrate me. I mean, there is only so much squealing and whining I can handle before I snap, right? And how many times can I tell one to put his or her shoes on before I yell get your shoes on NOW! Showing them respect is a little more difficult...but no less important. Because, well, when I am honest, screaming STOP SCREAMING! is just not very effective.

I grew up in a home that treated those closest to them horribly-- we completely let our guard down with one another, and never even tried to cherish one another with words. In result, I grew up to do the same in my family. No more. I realize how hurtful the lack of grace in my words was affecting my relationship with my kids.

Our children mirror our relationships with them in their relationships with others. Scary thought, eh? It was for me. I am working on seasoning my speech with grace and respect-- respecting my children in the same way I respect others. Why would they deserve less respect than the cashier at the grocery store?  The Bible calls us to respect one another-- our children are part of that "one another." It may be challenging, and I may will fail often (I seriously have failed at least twice while typing this blog post)...but I am working at modelling respectful interpersonal relationships starting at home with the most precious people in my life -- well, I'll die trying anyway...

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