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Friday, February 3, 2012

Gentleness Challenge - Week 4

It's week four of the Gentleness Challenge. How are you doing? Have you found the encouragement, wisdom and tools helpful? Have you seen a change in your own behavior and reactions? What about your kids? Are they more obedient or less whiny?

Picture by Tom Curtis
Well, the challenge has been a tide of ebbs and flows at our home. The first two weeks went fairly well. I began speaking more encouragement over our kids, pointing out their gifts and talents, inspiring them to use them daily for God's glory and helping them see areas where this would be possible. We started memorizing a weekly Bible verse and finding ways to implement the verse as our day went along. The kids were adapting well to the positive changes and I was becoming a happier, more gentle mommy. Then life got busy again!

I had a couple added responsibilities for a few days, my time shorter and so became my temper. I found that the stress I was under trying manage it all was causing our positive changes to take a nose-dive. The kids fell back into their bad habits and so did their momma. I have tried so hard not to raise my voice. I don't want to be the angry yelling mom anymore. Then I read week 4 of The Gentleness Challenge from Women Living Well.

This week, Courtney shares some wisdom she has learned from Michelle Dugger, mother of 19 children! There were two main points:

  1. When you feel angry, lower your voice to a whisper instead of raising it to yell.
  2. Praise your children 10x mores than you correct them.

Ouch! Did that sting anyone else, or just me!! Unfortunately, raising my voice has become my go-to bad habit. It's my way of enforcing control and demanding respect. However, it's not working so well. Through this challenge, I've learned to speak in a more gentle tone, but a whisper? Michelle takes this advise from Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.” How true is that! The more I yell, the worse the situation becomes. So I tried the "whisper method". IT WORKS!! I was in control, calm and quiet which brought their tone/tantrum to a more controlled state. I'm definitely keeping this one in mommy's little bag of tricks! :-)

Do you find yourself saying, "Don't do this! "Don't do that!" all day long. Guess what, you're tired of saying it and your children are tired of hearing it! The Duggers try not to use "don't" when speaking to their children. Instead, they try to refocus the child's attention to the expected behavior and compliment what they are doing well. For example, instead of saying "Don't hit your sister!" I have tried saying, "You were so kind to your classmate today. Let's try to be as kind to your sister." Courtney goes on to say that you can take the compliments even further by adding a Christ-like trait to them. (i.e. Thank you for your obedience in finishing your chores on time.)

As always, I have included the video link below in case you haven't seen this week's chat. You will want to watch. Angela & Courtney always have some extra words of wisdom they have gleaned from Sally Clarkson's book, The Ministry of Motherhood.


Karen Dawkins said... [Reply to comment]

In general, more gentle. :) I'm more aware of my voice and actions. That's a huge thing!!!!! :) My kids even notice. YAY!

Shari Lynne @ said... [Reply to comment]

Sweet words Torrie! It's hard to remember in the heat of the moment to correct with positive and gentle words, but it works so much better!..Most of the time :)
Great post!

OneMommy said... [Reply to comment]

Oh, I need to work on lowering my voice.... I've been trying! It's just the opposite of what I want to do at the time.

Torrie said... [Reply to comment]

Karen, I'm with ya sista...This challenge has made me so much more aware of my tone and reactions. Love when the kids notice our positive changes!!

Shari Lynne, You are so right! It's so much more effective, just so hard to do.

OneMommy, This is one of my biggest struggle areas too. I've been a yeller for a long time. Old habits die hard...but they can (and will) die, AMEN! Glad our God is full of patience, grace and forgiveness. Stay strong! We'll all get there.

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