When our kids hurt and offend us

I came across this quote from Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica’s wonderful book Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives. I couldn’t stop thinking about how it applies to my relationship with my kids.

As soon as our mood changes, we no longer speak kindly to our fellow men, but instead we answer them sharply. We only make things worse by doing this. When we are dissatisfied, the whole atmosphere between us becomes sour, and we start to offend one another. No matter what people do or say to us, we must be meek and forgive every offense.

Forgiving every offense is a tall order. Sometimes kids know right where to jab, and sometimes they mean to hurt. This goes for children as young as three and as old as dirt.

We are far less merciful than God (it goes without saying). “Lord do not forgive them,” as José Saramago said, “for they know exactly what they are doing.” But God does and we must.

The trick is following the elder’s counsel and not reacting to the offending word. Humility absorbs the blow and allows us to keep our composure. Lord, make me humble.

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  • Susan_G1

    when my kids said something painful, my first rational thought was to look behind that statement for the pain they were feeling, and to address that pain. It is interesting to me that, while I still do so with my adult children, I don’t do this with other adults.

    • Joel J. Miller

      I usually have one or two irrational thoughts before that one hits me. Sometimes there is a lot of self-talking happening in those moments.