“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” Proverbs 12:25
“love is kind” 1 Corinthians 13:4
When considering the Fruits of the Spirit, it seems like kindness shouldn’t be a struggle with my children, after all they are children. It is a struggle though when they ignore your advice and then come to you when there is a problem. It’s a struggle when they are tattling for the 82nd time today. It’s a struggle when they are crying about the immunizations they will have to get in NINE MONTHS. They simply aren’t rational beings, so responding with reason and logic doesn’t seem to work. It instead increases their worry or fear or emotion exponentially. Then I get more worked up, and now we are spinning out of control.
So I breathe. I pause. I remember that they are children and I am their mother and I must respond to them with kindness in order to calm the situation. I regularly live out the situation in Proverbs 12:25 with my oldest daughter Grace. She has a lot of anxiety and simply telling her, “don’t worry” never, ever, EVER works. I have to listen. I have to be patient. I have to respond with kindness and empathy. I have to reassure her that she will be ok. I have to use kindness to cheer up her heart. I love that lesson from Proverbs.
And I’m guessing most of use are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13 as the “love chapter” and have heard it in many weddings. I don’t often pay attention to just one part of it though, in fact I didn’t even realize that “kind” was in this chapter because I’ve just always seen is as a lump sum. But love IS kind. Sometimes loving my children means disciplining them, or letting them learn the hard way. It also means being kind.
I have seen that the more I am kind of them, the more they trust me and know they can come to me. I haven’t completely changed the way that I parent, I am not a push-over, they still have consequences. What I have changed is my reaction to my children. I breathe, I pause, I listen, I yell less. I am learning to be kinder.