I’ll admit that I like to have the last word. Basically, I am “Mama” or “Teacher,” and what I say is final. I WILL have the last word!
When my kids, or students, don’t get their way, they just keep on talking. My reaction? I keep on talking. Eventually, the gentleness is forgotten and I get into a heated showdown with this little person. Instead of having the last word, I am “stealing the show with my own fit throwing.” I never considered that I was throwing a fit right along with my children, but I see it now. If I am bound and determined to have the last word, I will no matter the cost. And that cost is usually tears and hurt feelings.
Like Wendy Speake said in chapter 2, I need to make the commitment NOT to engage in this battle. This is a commitment to God, myself, and my family. When I make that commitment, I am giving my children the choice in how they respond AND I’m giving myself the choice in how I respond……My choice is gentleness.
I loved the reminder from this chapter that my children are allowed to make wrong choices. As a mama, I know what I’ve taught my children, and I assume they know what I expect. However, when it comes down to it, they have the choice on what they say and do. Sometimes they will make the right choice and sometimes the wrong choice. The same is true of me.
Thankfully, when I mess up, God is there to redeem me through his grace. He doesn’t try to “one up” me. For that, I am thankful. Therefore, shouldn’t I extend that same grace to my children?
I appreciated the suggestions from this chapter on how to handle this trigger of backtalking. I know it’s coming in the “WHY?s” and the “BUT MAMA!” My blood pressure rises and the angry reaction is nearing. Because I know it is coming, Wendy suggests to plan out our words. And it makes sense, planning what we will say will help keep us calm and consider our word choice.
One example from my own experience is saying something such as, “I understand that you……… However, ……….., and therefore, I will not argue about this.” Having this plan also helps me in the classroom when certain students say, “Mrs. Grimes, you’re not listening to me.” This affirms that I am listening and understanding, but I will not change my mind. Plans like this also help me to slow down.
I’ve noticed since using this plan that backtalking has decreased, and my own children, my students, and I are being kinder and more gentle with one another.
This chapter also reminded that I have the wonderful privilege to pray for my children’s words (as well as my own). I pray for their actions, that they will make good choices and shine the light of Jesus every where they go, yet I don’t pray for their words…..and I should. And I will.
So what about you?
1.What is something that resonated with you or challenged you?
2. Have you considered a plan for when the backtalking starts?
3. How does it make you feel to see our angry reactions as evil?