Company was coming for lunch and I was running behind. My daughter and I were making an assortment of sandwiches as fast as we could, but the clock was getting close to 12 and I started to get antsy.
I took my frustrations out on my daughter. I gave her pushy looks. You know – raised eyebrows, bulging eyes? I had ugly thoughts. I even said “come on, go faster!” as she spread mayonnaise and piled ham and cheese between the slices of bread like a madwoman.
The doorbell rang. My cover was blown.
The coveted image of having it all together would have to wait another day. “Would someone please get the door” I demanded, not asked, with clenched teeth.
As my husband welcomed our friends inside I began to feel like a poser. Here I was about to put on a fake smile when I knew full well I was annoyed with myself for not starting lunch sooner and annoyed at my daughter for not making sandwiches faster than humanly possible. I knew I had hurt my girl and here I was about to be fake in front of her. She was wounded by my sharp and critical words, but still, she worked as fast as she could.
Our friends came into the kitchen to say hi. The usual pleasantries were exchanged- “hi, how are you”. I said “great, how are you guys?” or something like that. And then…conviction.
“Actually, I’m not doing so great. This is a fake smile and I was just being really harsh with Grace before you got here. May as well be real with you from the start.” I admitted. I gave my daughter a quick apology for the way I treated her as we joined the group. We went on to have a wonderful afternoon with our friends.
After our friends left, I sat down with my daughter and told her I was wrong to have unrealistic expectations of her, especially when they were a result of poor planning on my part. I told her my heart hurt for the harsh words I had spoken to her and how sorry I was for hurting her. True to her name, “grace”, she forgave me.
Since that Saturday I’ve looked up some verses about speaking harshly. There were several, but these are my favorite. I pray that I won’t soon forget them.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 ESV
“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11 ESV
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 ESV
Have you ever been in a spot where your next words or actions would shape your child’s opinion of your character?