This just happens to be the title of the tenth chapter in my absolute favorite “marriage” book of all time, “Created To Be His Helpmeet.” I was thinking about this title as I watched 18 Kids and Counting the other night. As much as people like to make fun of the Duggars (the family from Arkansas with 18 children and one on the way), there really isn’t anything legitimate to criticize. Most of all, I’m encouraged and inspired by the parents. Michelle Duggar spoke a little the other night on what their goals are in their parenting. She purposes to continually smile at her children. She and her husband have committed to speaking calmly with love, not just to one another, but to their children as well. Their reactions define them and that is clear in the fruit of their children. Their children speak kindly to one another and it is obvious that speaking with soft words comes naturally in that family.
Practice makes permanent.
A few years ago, my washing machine was over-flowing into my kitchen and I had a friend over. As I heard the water pouring out from the dining room, I ran into the garage, jumped up on top of the washing machine, turned it off, and continued on with our conversation as I cleaned up the mess. My friend said, “I don’t understand how you are so calm. Nothing bothers you.” I wish that were true, but I am thankful she saw that in me that day. The thing is, I’ve learned through trial and error over the years, life is just too short to get all worked up about things you can’t control. Just the other night, I was trying to carry too many things in one hand and Joshua’s plastic cup of water slipped out of my hand and splashed water ALL over the kitchen floor and cabinets and broke the cup completely in half. I just died laughing!! It was like something out of a funny movie, in slow motion as we watched that cup hit the floor, bust in half, and water bathed half the kitchen. Joshua helped me wipe some of it up and I looked at him and said, “Well, thats a relief, now we don’t have to wipe these cabinets down next week!” He just smiled. I don’t want my kids growing up with the fear of making a little boo-boo like spilling their drink or breaking something by accident. I love my father dearly and we’re still very close, but he had a bit of a temper when I was a child. My brother and I would run for the hills in fear of Daddy’s wrath if we made a stupid mistake like spilling our drink or breaking something.
Do I look at my children’s accidents or misbehavior as “interruptions” or as “opportunities” to train them? This is the same in marriage and everday life. Our reactions define us. How we think about our circumstances always determines how well we react to them. Also, what we fill or hearts and minds with will determine what comes out of our mouths when we are squeezed.
Lately, I’ve been trying to consciously keep a smile on my face, even when I don’t feel like it… ESPECIALLY when I don’t feel like it. It’s amazing how your attitude changes when you have a smile on your face. You can’t help it. When my five year old is whining and I can’t get him to quit and he feels like he “can’t help it”, I try to make him smile. If I can get him to crack a smile, the whining magically disappears.
So, think before you react today. Try to keep a smile on your face and speak with love on your lips. If you tend to raise your voice when you’re squeeze, *ahem*, like me, then purpose to speak softly today, no matter what! Note how the people around you react. When I speak calmly, with love, to my children, they tend to respond in the same manner. It’s a miracle!!
It’s Thankful Thursday, so remind yourself throughout the day, of all the many things for which you are thankful! (that sentence originally ended with “…things you are thankful for!” but a friend reminded me in a blog post the other day that you are not suppose to end a sentence with a preposition. If I weren’t homeschooling my children, I would have had NO IDEA that “for” is a preposition, but I do know now, so I changed that sentence for Kristy! Thanks for keeping me on my toes!!)