Sometimes I forget that, as the mom, I set the tone in my home. My mood, my actions, my reactions are like the pebble dropped into the middle of my family pond, rippling out and affecting everyone else.
If I am cranky and irritable, that becomes the undertone in our home. If I respond to annoyances and misbehaviors and mistakes with a sharp, critical voice, then before long the children will begin speaking to each other in the same sharp, critical tone. And believe me – lately, that has been happening far too much. And every time I correct the children for shrieking, “Stop that!” or “Move out of my way!” or “Quit annoying me!” I feel the piercing conviction that I probably sounded just like when I yelled out, “Put on your shoes!” or “For the last time, come do your chore!” or “We need to walk out the door RIGHT NOW!”
Recently, when I loudly reminded a couple of the children that they shouldn’t yell at each other or speak to each other hatefully, one of them said, “But you’re yelling at us right now.” I think my first reaction was to say, “But I’m the mom. Sometimes I have to yell.”
Oh, goodness! I had to apologize and ask for forgiveness for that lie! I’ve read about people who live under a shadow, believing their parents are perfect. I’m telling you – my children don’t have that burden to bear. They know full well how imperfect their mother is!
This morning, I started the day on the porch with my cup of coffee and my daily devotional reading. That always helps to set my tone for the morning. Some days that’s not possible, so I try to remember to put on some praise music. I’ve discovered that my sons do a lot less grumbling and whining and bickering when praise music is playing in the mornings.
I’m asking for grace to help me speak in a kinder tone with a genuinely sweet facial expression — rather than that strained look behind forcefully kind words that my kids can totally see through! I’m spending more time filling my mind with stuff that will cultivate joy and peace and love from within, so that’s what will spill out when the day gets bumpy.
My heart longs for a joyful, peaceful, safe home for my children. And because I set the tone, I need to be a joyful, peaceful momma whose presence is a sanctuary for her children. I know there will be times I’ll harshly shriek at my children to stop arguing or to do their homework or to come to dinner while it’s still hot – but, by God’s grace, those times will be fewer as I remember that I’m setting the tone in my home.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart [and the tone of my voice] be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. –Psalm 19:14
*additional words are mine