school friends

Have I ever blown it in the area of unbiblical scolding?  You bet I have. Am I going to tell you about it in this blog?  Of course not! Perhaps one day, after we’ve gotten to know each other better, I’ll share about some of the times I’ve really messed up.  However, this is my first blog post ever and I’m bent on making myself look good <grin>.  Vain? I know, but first impressions are important. So, I’ve decided to tell you about a time when I did it right in hopes that you might be encouraged to train your children in love today, without the damaging effects of scolding.  This is a story that I share in my book Don’t Make Me Count to Three published by Shepherd Press.

It was a cold day in February when my children asked if they could go outside to play. I gave them permission, but instructed them to put on their coats and shoes first. My daughter Alex has always loved to play outside barefooted, so as she whizzed by, I confirmed my orders by repeating, “Don’t forget to put on your shoes.”

Twenty minutes later, as I was taking the trash outside, what should I find but Alex, running around on bare feet that had turned a bluish purple color. To make matters even worse, the pants she was sporting were a little too long for her legs so without shoes, she was stepping on them. The results? Two holes in her brand new pants. Okay, to put it mildly, I was ticked. It may have been cold outside, but the heat building up in Momma could have warmed the entire neighborhood.

Alex had chosen to directly disobey me, but I knew that I, too, had a choice.

Option one: I could scold her by yelling, “Alex, I TOLD you to put your shoes on! Now your feet are HALF FROZEN and just LOOK at what you’ve done to your pants! (Picture hands on hips and finger wagging frantically for emphasis.) YOUR DADDY works so hard to buy you these clothes, and THIS is how you show your appreciation! You just see how fast you can get your tail in your room young lady! You are getting a major spanking!”

Option two:  I could biblically reprove her in love. Lucky for Alex, I’d spent extra time reading my Bible and praying that morning, so this is the option I chose. I calmly said, “Alex, Honey, I told you to put on your shoes before you went outside. have you obeyed or disobeyed?” Then, after she verbalized that she has disobeyed, I said, “Well, Sweetheart, God says that children are to obey their parents and I love you too much to allow you to disobey. You need to go to your room and I’ll be there in a minute.”

It’s amazing how much more receptive children are when correction is given with gentleness and self-control. I so desire to demonstrate unconditional love and careful instruction so that my children are never provoked to anger. It has become evident to me that angry parents breed angry children.

Scolding is an angry response that does not honor God or our children. “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Because I struggle with my tone of voice, I have found that making a conscious effort to reprove my children in a softer tone of voice than I normally use helps me to have self-control.

Let’s strive to speak softly and carry a big … um … Bible! Okay, that last statement was really corny. I’ve had too much coffee this morning.

{Editor’s note: Today Ginger Plowman is a guest guest writer on MomLife Today!}