I didn't know this would ever be a struggle for me particularly when it came to children. How is it possible that I could be anything but gentle with a child? When my oldest hit toddlerhood and I had an infant in tow I found the nerves fraying as the number continuous hours of sleep dwindled and I had a harshness in my manner that I didn't know I was capable of. It was humbling in the "brings you to your knees" variety. During our years in Nepal I had the gift of extra hands in the house which made for a welcome escape valve when needed and I found my level of anger and frustration with my kids dropped dramatically. I knew when I returned to real life, a dirty kitchen, loads of laundry and multiple simultaneous requests from my sweet little hoodlums that being gentle could be a challenge. Asking God to help me be gentle ... today, is a daily request.
My little mental mantra is "gently, gently, gently" when I respond to the tantrum, the irrational demand or just general misbehavior. I don't get it right all the time but I can't help but think the long term payoff if is important. Kids don't always remember what we say (really?!) but I know they remember how they feel when we are with them.
"But let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."
"I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong."