I was listening to one of my daughter’s in law, as she gathered my grandchildren around her, much as a hen gathers her chicks. With a loving smile on her face, she spoke to one of the children who presented her with a piece of crayon art, “good job!” The child beamed at the praise. So it is with all her children. Softly, gently, quietly, and often, this sweet mother dispenses praise, and her children profit from it. Such are my daughters in law, and my daughters as well.
I am mindful of the days spent in my mother’s home. She was an angel. Rarely did she raise her voice. She had no need to, for one look was enough to show her displeasure. In contrast, I remember some months ago standing near a young woman with a potty mouth; nothing but filth came out. I recalled then, that in all my years in my mother’s presence never did I hear so much as a derogatory word. She was possessed of a class of a higher order, and it was beneath her to utter hurtful words. Her example remains with me, leaving me with a desire to do better.
We live in an increasingly violent time. The current misuse of language reflects it. Tragically it is carried into homes which ought be havens of safety for little ones. Instead, children are brought up in an atmosphere of anger and fear, complete with profanity in the highest decibels. Instead of encouragement, little ones are treated to demeaning words. Words hurt!
It is the same with the sot who comes into the home after a drunken spree, to terrorize his wife and children. But drunk or sober, no man ought so conduct himself; how sad when children live in fear of their father! Except they repent of such conduct, there will come a day when they will experience deep regret and even grief, for where learn the sons and daughters their future conduct? Oh! If your conduct is such, repent, repent, repent! You can make the needed changes.
We are quick to call ourselves Christians. “I love Jesus” signs, or something of the like abound. Would not the best indicator of our love for Jesus be demonstrated by how we treat others, particularly the members of our immediate family?
Words hurt! Well did James say, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”(James 3:5-6)
We can do better. We must, if we are to know true happiness. We must learn to discipline ourselves, biting our tongues, and counting to twenty before reacting to another in anger. We must learn to do so for those we love, especially our little ones. They deserve better. Nay, they deserve the very best we are capable of, for their time with us is but a brief moment in time.
Our words must never be calculated to hurt! The discipline we send out must never be excessive, certainly never beyond the means we have to heal the hurt! We can, and we must do better. The Lord, even He who grieves when a little one suffers, will bless us for our efforts.
(Joseph L. Townsend, 1849-1942)