We have these Willow Tree figures in our living room – I love the nurturing feel these figures convey!

A few weeks ago, I posted Part 1 and Part 2 in our Biblical Boyhood series.  I had intended to write Part 3 last week, but I got stuck.  Not stuck on the content or ideas, but stuck on actually living out Part 2!  Part 2 of Biblical Boyhood was on Fighting, Revenge and Bullies.  We looked at the fact that scripture gives no room for us to take our own revenge.

And yet, how often do my own words lash out in revenge at my sons?

Why are you up here squirting toothpaste out of the tube when I sent you to bring down some tissues?  What is wrong with you?  How can I get anything done when you are making these messes?

Children need discipline.  But what is the point of discipline?  Biblical discipline should be a rescue mission to communicate to my children that sin is serious and that they need to turn to Christ for forgiveness and the strength to honor Him.  It should not be about my anger or frustration or the inconvenience that their bad behavior is putting on my day.  And how can I expect to teach them to stop seeking revenge when someone sins against them if I am responding in that same way to their sin?  Consequences are a necessary part of discipline, but doling out consequences can easily come from a heart of revenge – I am so tired of you asking to play Wii!  Now you may not play Wii for the rest of the week!

Life at my house with four boys, homeschooling, a dog, and private music students is often majorly overstimulating.  The other day, we were sitting at the school table doing one of the crafts from our five senses unit.  Owen was gluing the table instead of the craft, Aidan was in the middle of telling me that he had “no idea” that he had not followed the directions on an assignment and was trying to put the blame on me, and Gresham was telling me that he didn’t know what word he should write next.  All of this – at the same time!  And I responded with sinful anger.

A busy house is not an excuse to talk unkindly to my children.

“There is one who speaks rashly like the thrust of a sword,

But the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Proverbs 12:18

“A gentle answer turns away wrath,

But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15:1

“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Colossians 4:6

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Ephesians 4:29

I have decided that I need to work on applying these scriptures so that I will be a good example of godly speech to my children.  Do any of you struggle with this? (Please tell me I’m not the only one!)

The challenge:

  • This week I will start each day in prayer asking God to help me speak the right way to my children.
  • I will memorize all four of the above verses with references.
  • I will make an effort to slow down the pace of our life when busy-ness is interfering with my ability to “handle it all.”  It’s not worth being caught up on all the laundry, for example, if it’s causing me to be a grouchy mom!
  • I will not complain about my children’s behavior or messes or interruptions for an entire week. (Oh boy, this is going to be hard…)
Any other Moms want to take the challenge this week?  Anyone?  Please leave a comment if you’re in!


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  1. Linda Sep 17, 2012

    You're not the only one. I work with young children and I find when I get home my patience is less than perfect with my own children. I have often said the same kind of thing "I am so tired of you asking for X!" Thank you for the reminder to step back and talk kindly.

    1. Julie Apr 24, 2017

      Yes. I totally understand what your going through. My boys can be so disrespectful. I have to remember that Jesus will will help and my boys in these Satanic situations

  2. Jenny Sep 17, 2012

    You are definitely NOT alone in this. I'm a single mom to an extremely energetic, spirited 2-year old. There are times that my patience runs so thin (last night)that I lash out with anger when I know that getting down to his level, asking him firmly but gently usually (okay, sometimes) gets the job done. Thank you for these verses and for reminding me that he will learn and emulate my actions.

  3. CathyH Sep 17, 2012

    I'm in. I need more practice with biting my tongue and less practice wielding it as a sword. I wish I could tell you it gets easier as the kids get older. You are right - the problem is not the kids, it's the MOM (Me) who reacts incorrectly. We used "The 21 Rules of This House" by Gregg Harris. (you can google it). The list starts with (paraphrased) #1 We love God and #2 We love People. At our house there were three rules that helped the most. Why is it frustrating that things are out of place or mis-used? Rule #13 says, "We take good care of everything God has given us". Why is it wrong for a kid to wear four outfits a day - or squeeze out all the toothpaste? Rule #14 says, "We do not create unnecessary work for others". Even immaturity, laziness, ignorance, broken items, not knowing what to do... Rule #19 says, "When we don't know what to do, we ask." We posted the rules - and I still have some of them memorized today. (Maybe my kids remember SOME of the rules?!) The rules helped me know how to discipline, to pinpoint what the sin or infraction was and how to correct it.

  4. Marsha Sep 17, 2012

    You are NOT the only one. I have been making a conscious effort in this area recently because my son's outbursts made me realize I needed to change...plus, I need to be blameless when I ask him to watch his tone. Thank you for your openness...it encourages all the rest of us mothers.

  5. Pearl Sep 17, 2012

    I am struggling with this every moment of the day. Ok, not every moment...but it sure feels like it. I think I need to memorize - and apply - those same verses.

  6. Allison Sep 18, 2012

    This is one of those lessons I need to learn again and again. No matter how many times I learn it I forget shortly after. This reminder came at a great time. Thank you for sharing so openly.

  7. Meaghan Sep 18, 2012

    Your posts as always speak right to me. I have been struggling with this a lot as I recognize that I have been a poor example for my boys. I find when I am frustrated I get mean. My boys are only acting towards others the way I am acting too. It is very hard to change especially as we get older and busier. Thank you for these verses and the encouragement to keep trying to change myself. We are all in it together!

  8. Ticia Sep 18, 2012

    Very true. I'm really enjoying this series.

  9. Sam Miller Sep 18, 2012

    I am sooooooo in! !
    Todays blog was EXACTLY the two areas I was concerned about!!

    Accountability: If I don't follow through, I will bring your Grandma some homemadebread & jam!

    Thanks for your wonderful blog & pics....
    You speak directly to our mommy hearts!

    1. Sarah Sep 18, 2012

      My Grandma would love the bread and jam! Although I'm not saying I want you to fail at this challenge!!! I hope your week goes well, and thanks for the comment.

  10. Dorothy Sep 18, 2012

    Thanks for sharing your heart and encouraging other moms! I'm in.

  11. Andrea Sep 18, 2012

    I'll take this challenge! I often have "grouchy eyebrows" as my kids will point out. I'm looking forward to seeing if anyone notices the difference.

  12. Sarah Sep 18, 2012

    Thank you all for your comments! This is a hard area to gain victory in. Yesterday I did not do as well as I'd hoped, but one thing that I did not do yesterday was make everyone have quiet time in the afternoon. Then by the end of the day I was completely frazzled. Right now they are all in their rooms being quiet, and it's a good chance for me to collect my thoughts before the dinner time rush.

    Also, I keep reminding myself that I can't have success in my own strength! Rely on the Lord!

  13. Shawndel Sep 26, 2012

    Thank you, for this post. I wanted to respond when it first came out but didnt have a chance. This post met me right where I needed it. We are really struggling with discipline with our four boys. I believe God has given me this in order to direct me in the way he wants me to go. I took your challenge and added a few things too. I am hanging up a word chart that has words on it to encourage the children. Also I am learning tools to manage groups of children. We will have six children all together in Feb!!! I need a little training in classroom management:)

  14. Rachelle Sep 10, 2013

    Thank you for your honesty and transparency. I know I'm late to reading this but I just had to thank you for this post. I am taking the challenge at the end. This hit me so deep. I've said some of the same things and I never realized my thoughts were based on revenge. I need to model the right things before I expect them to live them out. Again, thank you!

  15. Carla Nov 14, 2013

    Thank you so much for your honesty and your biblical encouragement and chastisement. I also have three boys and some days they drive me absolutely crazy. They really are impulsive and loud and physical....and loving, fun, cheeky, inspiring.

    I love them to bits but, like you, I also struggle to keep a reign on my tongue at times. When they are being 'childish' at a completely inconvenient time I often view them as disobedient and naughty. I find that the way I perceive them has a HUGE impact on how I respond to them....especially their childishness which feels like foolishness to me.

    Thanks for you your encouragement. I so desire to love them, teach them and discipline them gently and with grace. Your post convicts me and encourages me to do so.

  16. Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings Nov 18, 2013

    Sarah, I absolutely love this and needed this. My boy is 3 and it has been hard to communicate in gentle manner. Thank you for this!! Blessings, Amy

  17. Amy Jul 1, 2014

    I'm so blessed that I have found your blog and website. I'm glued to the screen reading and learning and deciding what my next step will be with my boys and family. Thank you so much.

  18. faith Nov 26, 2014

    Thanks for writing these blogs. I have 4 boys too. Mine are 11, 9, 8, & 5. Life is crazy hectic. Plus I teach MS all day. I am going to make it my goal to memorize those verses also. I'm also trying to stop responding in haste & anger when I'm really just tired from the day. It's definitely a challenge.

  19. Gene Sep 28, 2016

    I needed to read this...I've been struggling with my 4yr old I find myself almost 95% of the times upset and yelling at him, to think of it sometimes for simple things. I'm a single mother and my sister who has no kids keeps telling me keep calm and speak to him but hearing this from you and so many mothers who struggle with the same thing helps. I'm down for this challenge I need a change.

  20. Megan A Kallina Jan 22, 2017

    Just read this today....I am taking your challenge for my home, my 4 year old boy and my one year old little girl....Thank you for writing this and sharing your heart

  21. Patricia Irving Feb 12, 2018

    Thank you thank you thank you. I'm in. All for the glory of God. I will pray for all of us.

  22. Kristina Nov 28, 2023

    All of your parenting posts are so refreshing and full of wisdom. Just what I needed during a difficult season with my very intelligent but wild 6 year old.


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