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Monday, November 7, 2011

To Tiptoe...or Teach?

I'm an observer. And a thinker. I observe people's behavior, and I think about how it relates to me.

This can be a good thing. For instance, I am certain that I avoided a whole lot of discipline while I was growing up simply by observing my five older siblings. They were naughty. I learned from their mistakes.

Recently, I have had the extended opportunity to observe someone closely. Like, living in my house closely. For an extended amount of time.

This time, my observations have brought me to a question...do I tiptoe, or do I teach?  Do I tiptoe around the moods and demands in order to keep the peace (after all, the bible says, "Blessed are the peacemakers..."), or do I speak up (kindly--"Let your speech be seasoned with salt...") in order to teach?

Now, obviously, I am not referring to my guest here, but just to my family--mainly my children. And my answer is this: if I tiptoe, I AM teaching...but NOT what I want them to learn!

I read a book by John Ortberg called The Life You've Always Wanted, and in it there is an illustration of a man that was always cranky--you know, a real joy-killer. He always looked for ways to destroy others' happiness. The point of this illustration has really stuck with me, and it applies here: John Ortberg said that what is extraordinary about this is not that this man never changed, but that no one ever expected him to change. Everyone just tiptoed around him or avoided him, all with the same response: "That's just how he is." Hmmm.

So, during my latest observations, I have come to a conclusion. I will teach.

When the moods are 'bad' or 'stressed', and the responses are likewise, I will not pacify, coddle, or ignore. I will teach.

When a harsh word is spoken, I will teach kindness, forgiveness, gentleness.

When someone says 'do it my way', I will teach them another way that is just as good.

When someone says 'me first', I will teach them to put others first.

When someone throws a fit to get their way, I will teach them to ask kindly with appreciation. 

When someone is impatient, I will teach them that it's okay for others to move at a different speed.

And I pray that others will do the same for me.

Because when I get to the end of my life, I want to hear "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." Not, "That's just the way she was..."

So, do you tiptoe, or do you teach? I would love to hear your thoughts.


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