“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” (Romans 14:19)
Here’s a simple project to try. Fill a jar or mug with dry beans. Set two glasses next to the beans. Label one jar with a “+” and one with a “–“. Listen to yourself as you go through the day. Every time you say something positive or edifying to your children, move a bean from the jar into the “+” glass. Every time you correct your child and tell him what he has done wrong, take a bean from the jar and put it into the “–” glass.
Which glass has the most beans in it at the end of the day? If you have children, you’ll most likely have some beans in the “–” glass (and if you have very many small children, the negative glass may be pretty full!) There’s nothing wrong with that! We’re supposed to instruct and correct our children. But the “+” glass should have more!
But what if our children just need lots of correction?
Then they need even more praise! Pray for the ability to see what your children are doing right and praise them for it. If you’re watching for it, you will catch even your most mischievous troublemaker or most sullen teenager doing plenty of things right! Grab hold of those, commend your children for them, and see if their attitude — and yours — doesn’t change!
“The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.” (Proverbs 16:21, ESV)