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Irritation, giggles and tears

July 27, 2010
 |  by Krista

Irritation, giggles and tears

Last night before bedtime, Rob asked the kids if they would like a “treat.” In our house, that usually means something special, sweet and not necessarily healthy. He meant to say “snack” and was planning to offer fruit, yogurt or “ants-on-a-log.” The miscommunication caused a conflict between Ben and Rob, with the former insisting on an indulgence and Daddy sticking to his guns with healthy offerings. As a bystander, I agreed with Rob’s position but didn’t think he handled it nearly as gently as he could have. In the end, Rob realized that his tone of voice erased the logic of his words and fueled the fire. He was able to apologize to Ben and they talked about how little disagreements can turn into major arguments simply because of the way something is said. Chalk it up to imperfect people still learning to be like Jesus.

On a lighter note, we had some unexpected fun on the same topic with the Hands-on option called “Tone and Expression Matter.” At first, we started asking the questions provided in the lesson. Then Rob spontaneously suggested we instead do a reverse role play with us being the kids and Ben and Jess being the parents. Still using the scenarios outlined, Rob and I were able to be as whiny, demanding or stubborn as we wanted. We were tickled at how calm and mature our miniature “parents” were in response. They LOVED being in charge! Interestingly enough, even when Rob and I were bordering on intolerable, they still maintained a gentle firmness that spoke volumes about how they prefer to be treated. (That is, until Rob had a rather graphic “tantrum” on the floor, which caused all of us to dissolve into fits of giggles!)

Because both Benjamin and Jessica are quite fond of their own stuffed animals, we thought they would love the Gentleness story about the stuffie named Wolfie. Instead, it ended with both in tears! Rob and I were completely taken aback at how Ben, especially, internalized the “violence” and felt so bad that Wolfie got ripped open. We really didn’t think (and still don’t) that the story was too graphic, and we clarified that it was an imaginary event. It did give us a chance to discuss damage to a toy versus harm done to a person, and we were able to piggyback on that by talking about hurting a person with words when we can’t always see the “injury.” I suspect the story will still be a very useful reminder/teaching tool in the coming days because it had such a strong impact.

By the way, we took the liberty of paraphrasing our memory verse: “Show your gentleness to everyone” (Philippians 4:5). Choosing short, easy verses gives little Jessi a better shot at successfully memorizing them. She is SO proud when she can say them on her own!

Is anyone else working on the Gentleness lesson? Or have you already finished it? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Related Lesson: Gentleness