It was when I full-on raised my voice, throwing out the middle name and everything, because I thought Alexa was squirting her Capri-Sun all over the patio when in fact it was just a spray bottle that I realized I was clearly in the wrong. I gave her a hug and tried to mend it, but the damage had been done...harshly and unnecessarily.
There's a saying: "Four things come not back: the spoken word, the spent arrow, the past, the
neglected opportunity." - Omar Idn Al-Halif
Truly there was no reason for the little funk I was in, but instead of really trying to get out of it, I made small, pathetic efforts and lost my temper again. It was silly and really bumming everybody out! Eventually the evening got better, but it was not because of me.
This morning I read a beautiful message by the Prophet of God concerning love, and it was the best parenting advice I've received in a long while -- possibly ever. Here are some excerpts from that message (emphases added):
"'Why is it that the [ones] we love [most] become so frequently the targets of our harsh words? Why is it that [we] sometimes speak as if with daggers that cut to the quick?' The answer to these questions may be different for each of us, and yet the bottom line is that the reasons do not matter. If we would keep the commandment to love one another, we must treat each other with kindness and respect."
"I would hope that we would strive always to be considerate and to be sensitive to the thoughts and feelings and circumstances of those around us. Let us not demean or belittle. Rather, let us be compassionate and encouraging. We must be careful that we do not destroy another person's confidence through careless words or actions."
"As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way."
For me it is easy to forget sometimes that because my children do not always treat me with love and kindness or as a person with needs or feelings that it's okay to treat them the same way. But I, as their mother, need to exemplify the behavior I want them to emulate, and thus need to remember that children are people, too, like me, with tummies that get hungry and cause crankiness, or with frustrations that they need help to overcome, or simply with days that they just get into a funk for no reason at all!
In my quest to yell less and love more, I have thought many times "she is a person -- how do you speak to a person?" It's been simple, but powerful, because the reasons for harsh words and short-tempers do not matter when we've been commanded by Jesus Christ himself to "love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."
So no matter what, I will do my best to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come my way, because I want to feel confident in knowing that my behavior, specifically my words and tone, would not change if the Savior stood beside me.
Today has been much less funky.