Be a Man! How many times have we heard that demand? Well, sometimes being a dad demands that we keep our manliness in check for the sake our kids tender hearts. Yes, even our boys need us to be gentle towards them, at every age. Gentleness is being loving and kind, even when we are being firm. It is making sure that there is a stream of affection and affirmation flowing, even when we are angry or upset. It’s that controlled spirit that says I love you even while I am correcting you.
When we speak to our kids, our tone, attitudes, volume and emotions are amplified in their hearts and minds for two simple reasons. First of all, simply because of our sheer size as we tower over them! But more importantly, because of our importance and value to them.
When you express disappointment to your child, you may be just a little disappointed in them, and five minutes later the world returns to normal for you. It’s done. Just like at work when a co-worker irritates you and you are fuming mad, but five minutes later you are back to chumming it up with them – complaining about the boss or sharing an inside an office joke. But at home, five minutes later – hours later, your kid is still crushed inside, even if they don’t show it. They disappointed their hero! Their Dad.
What you intend as a tap with a picture hanging hammer can come off like a sledge hammer! You may not need to be as forceful as you think. Often, as dads, we need to ask ourselves, “Am I being too harsh?” – “Do I need to be more gentle here?”
Here’s an easy way to remember how to keep your words S.O.F.T. even when you do need to correct your child:
S = Speak Slowly and Softly
O = On their level
F = Face to face
T = Touch them affectionately
When we are gentle, we build trust into our relationship with our kids. That trust makes deposits that grow into an account will pay dividends for life. When we make mistakes as dads, we make debits. We all make debits. The goal is to make more deposits than debits! Gentleness is an easy way to make deposits and it assures our children of our love, and when they make mistakes, or especially when they have outright done wrong, that is when they really need to be assured of your unconditionally love and acceptance. Those deposits are extra large!
The Bible assures us that when we are gentle, our children draw closer to us. But when we aren’t, they pull away from us:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Be a man – and be gentle toward your child.
And Be The Dad, Today!