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A personal anecdote from Dr. Charles Fay. The other day I caught myself giving a lengthy speech about the importance of kids doing their chores and respecting their parents to my seven-year-old son in response to his eye-rolling and huffing about having to clean up after the dog.
“I used to be a parenting expert. That is…until I had kids.
Parenting is tough because we love our children. Since highly effective teachers also love their students, they struggle with the same temptations. We want the best for them. We worry that they’ll become irresponsible. We sometimes feel panicked because they don’t seem to be turning out the way we hoped. As educators we mourn when we aren’t reaching a child in the way we hoped.
Lots of intense feelings can muddy our minds and leave us forgetting that we can’t talk tykes…or teens…into being respectful, responsible and self-controlled. In fact, the more extensive our vocabularies become, the less effective we become.
The more words we use when things are going poorly, the less effective we become. Run an experiment: see what happens if you simply use fewer words when things are going poorly. The odds are high that you’ll be glad you did.
Many excellent and loving parents and educators are faltering. Not because they lack skills. No. It’s because they talk too much while they’re using their good skills.”
Danny Silk, from Bethel Church in Redding, California, gives this advice to parents, especially those with “tween-agers” and teenagers: “The key to reducing arguments and power struggles is asking God to show you when to go ‘brain-dead.’ This takes away anything for our child to “push against” in our many words. If you don’t know when to do this, you might say something, and then you’re off and running!”
As is the case with so many issues of life, there are “truths in tension,” even in the Word of God.
Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.
Proverbs 25:11 NLT
Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.
Proverbs 10:19 TNIV
The only way to determine God’s perspective in the moment is to stay tuned in to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and leading. Isn’t it wonderful how God uses parenting and teaching to keep us earnestly seeking His heart and intimately tuning in to His voice!?! Often, knowing what and when NOT to speak requires as much supernatural wisdom as giving great advice and direction!
I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.
John 12:49 NLT