Our family is making it our goal this month to change the temperament of our home from one that yells or uses harsh and sarcastic tones to a home that uses calm and respectful tones when speaking to each other.
It is often said, “You don’t yell or use a sarcastic tone with people at church so why should you do it with your family?” The excuse seems to be that your family will love you no matter what. But I think you should be giving your best to your family instead of the stress filled leftovers.
I don’t think we always realize how we talk to each other or treat each other. My husband made the comment one day that if people heard us talking, they may not think we like each other. So we decided as a family to change. We decided to challenge ourselves to only use calm and respectful voices with each other.
Since we have started the challenge, I have been able to figure out our “anger triggers” and how to stop them before they happen.
- I can tell that my older son is starting to get frustrated more easily, probably due to his becoming a teenager. I find that if I use a calm voice and send him outside to walk, run, or work with his hands, he will calm down. When he comes back in the house he will apologize, give me a hug, and we will be able to discuss rationally what the issue might be.
- My younger son seems to be very sensitive about things. Most of the time if I get him to breathe for a second, give him a hug, and let him explain what he is thinking, then he will calm down.
- As for myself, I realized that I am less likely to be harsh when I am well rested and have eaten. My husband and I have started going to bed earlier and we are working on eating healthier. (I know that is easier said than done.)
Also, the Bible has wonderful advice to help.
It’s very easy to begin yelling and let things get out of hand.
- Proverbs 14:29 says, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.”
It’s also easy to use words that may stir up anger when we are upset. It’s harder to think of kind words and use a calm tone.
- Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”
And what about the Fruit of the Spirit? Do we exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit in our home? I am making a print-out for our refrigerator to remind us how we should act in our home. I created this particular one based on things that our family needs to work on. Yours might look different. (I realize that we should do all these things outside our home as well, but for this challenge we are focusing on inside our home.)
Exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit in Our Home
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Love: Make the choice to love one another, even though sometimes we don’t feel like it. Make sure our tone is kind, even though we want use an annoyed or frustrated tone.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4
Joy: Have true joy in your heart. True joy does not depend on whether you had a good day or a bad day. True joy does not depend on circumstances. Think about all the ways that you are blessed. Look for the good in a bad situation. Smile at each other even when you don’t feel like it.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4
Peace: Don’t try to stir up conflict with your siblings or parents. If your sibling tries to stir up conflict with you, then don’t fight back. Pray for things that you worry about.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Romans 12:18
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Patience: Be patient, even though the easy thing to do is yell or get back at someone. Don’t talk over each other. Listen to each other.
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3
Kindness: Serve others in your family without expecting anything in return.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
Goodness: Make good and wise choices, even though it may not be the easiest thing to do.
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Galatians 6:9
Faithfulness: Trust each other and make it easy for others to trust you.
But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil. Matthew 5:37
Gentleness: Use a gentle tone in your voice. Be gentle with each other, even if you feel you were wronged.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. James 3:17
Self-Control: Control your voice, even when it would be easier to yell. Wait your turn to talk. Don’t interrupt each other.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls. Proverbs 25:28
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. James 1:19
There are many other things we are trying to do as well. We are beginning the day with hugs and sweet tones of “good morning” , instead of me sounding like a drill sergeant and listing all of the daily “to do’s” for the kids when they first wake up. Then we end the day with prayer and Bible study. We give our children hugs and we tell them how much we love them.
Experts tell tell husbands and wives to never go to bed angry; but, we should practice that with our children, too. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” Sometimes when we have had a particularly tough day with our children, my husband will tell them, “Tomorrow is another day and you can start over.” That enables them to not worry any more about what happened that day and to know they can start the next day with a clean slate.
We by no means have this down perfect, but it is something we are praying about and working on together as a family.
by Sharla Orren
Sharla Orren lives with her family in Camden, Arkansas, where her husband is the Pulpit Minister of the Cullendale Church of Christ. She loves homeschooling her two boys, ages 13 and 8. She enjoys anything involving history and weather. She also enjoys writing and speaking. You can check out her blog at, http://www.lookatwhatyouareseeing.com in which she writes about homeschooling, natural living, homemaking, and time management.