Last Updated on March 20, 2018

I heard it from the other room. “Stop it NOW!” my son yelled at his brother. Lovely.

Lately we’ve been having a few too many of these 5-year-old, attitude-laden verbal bashings. So according to the warning I’d given my son earlier that morning after a similarly loving encounter, I marched him into the bathroom and adorned his toothbrush with foaming antibacterial soap.

But meanwhile, I had an internal admission: He heard that from you.

My struggle to speak to my kids calmly (or at times lack of appropriate struggle) doesn’t excuse my son’s behavior. It does drive home further the realization that I can coach my children all I want about speaking kindly to each other, but I have to model it. I was convicted again by 1 Peter 3:4 this week: “but let [your adornment] be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

So I grabbed my own toothbrush: “You cannot speak to your brother that way. But I’m realizing that part of the reason that you’re doing that is because you’ve heard it from me. That’s not an excuse. You still have to control your words. But I have to use loving words too. We’re gonna brush our teeth with soap together, ’cause we both need God to scrub that attitude out of our hearts.”

The soap tasted disgusting. I helped my son wash his mouth with water afterward. It was a good reminder that I need to walk in my kids’ shoes more often.

Hopefully it will remind me of more than that the next time I’m tempted to blow my top.

Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love … Be angry, and yet do not sin … Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted … (Ephesians 5:1b-2, 26, 31-32b)

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One Comment

  1. I LOVE this…thanks for sharing. Sorry you had to taste the soap too. I'm sure I'll be there soon and what a wonderful reminder that you're sure not to forget 🙂