First, we went over the verse:
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. ~Proverbs 12:18We went over some examples and I actually read the blog entry to them. (I wish I still had the link...but alas I do not!) And Peter has really grabbed hold of this. In fact, when he feels his sister isn't speaking kindly to him he will exclaim "REBEKAH IS USING SWORD WORDS!!!" It kind of cracks me up. And I really really love it.
This past weekend I was working on getting everyone fed. William was mowing. Ruth spilled her drink. I was making someone a sandwich - I can't remember who's. Rebekah told me Ruth spilled the milk and that Ruth used Rebekah's napkin to clean it up. She came into the kitchen, grabbed a new napkin and went back. When I turned to give the sandwich to the owner, I see milk all over the table.
I lost it. I didn't yell...but I did speak harshly.
"REBEKAH! Why didn't you mention that there was still a mess on the table? Why didn't you tell me it needed cleaned up? Look! It is getting spread everywhere!"
I cleaned up the milk and as I was doing so Peter says "Mom, those were sword words."
I replied "Yes. That verse doesn't mean you won't ever get in trouble! Rebekah could have let me know that this needed cleaning before the mess got worse. Or better yet, she could have cleaned it up herself!"
I sat down to the table with my own food and pondered Peter's observation. Those were sword words. What am I teaching them? I thought about how I could have spoken more gently. How the entire reason for "not yelling" was to open up lines of communication. Speaking harshly - even though my voice wasn't raised - is really just as bad. I glanced over at Rebekah and saw her eyes downcast as she picked at her food.
And more than anything - the Bible applies to us all.
I sighed and said..."Peter you are right. I shouldn't have spoken so harshely. Perhaps I should have just punished her or something to help her remember to tell me next time."
What the what? YES! I am an imperfect parent. I never pretend to be otherwise. I'm striving to be the best mom I know how. Understanding when to let things go and when NOT too is something I frequently struggle with.
Rebekah's eyes grew wide and then she quickly looked back at her food.
I sighed again. I knew I had gotten it wrong. Again. "Peter. You are right. Those were sword words. I need to try to use healing words next time. Rebekah, I'm sorry I didn't speak more kindly. Peter, thanks for bringing it up." Peter beamed and Rebekah smiled.
So I received a very important lesson from a 5 yo. Healing is healing. Sword words are sword words. He still has a few things to learn too. For example, shouting "YOU DIDN'T SAY PLEASE! THOSE ARE SWORDS WORDS! YOU NEED TO USE HEALING WORDS! MOOOOOOOMMMM! REBEKAH IS USING SWORDS WORDS ON ME!!!!" at his sister is probably not appropriate. But one step at a time for us all.