Speaking Too Quickly
I was astonished at what I found in the bathroom. The brand-new roll of toilet paper had been unrolled, all of it right into – well, somewhere it wasn’t recoverable from.
Obviously I hadn’t done it. And I was reasonably sure Frank hadn’t done it, either. We don’t have any pets. So it had to be the two-year-old, right?
The only problem was, we didn’t have a two-year-old. In fact, both our sons were well into their 20’s when this occurred, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t them, either.
Further investigation revealed it had actually been the wind. Blowing in the open bathroom window, it had sent one end of the paper into the toilet I had open for cleaning. The water, wicking up, pulled the entire roll off in a surprisingly short time.
But what if we’d really had a toddler at the time? Of course they’d have been the prime suspect – and the fact is, I’m not sure I’d have believed they didn’t do it when they told me. It’s entirely possible I’d have administered some sort of discipline for something the child really hadn’t done.
Proverbs 18:13 tells us not to “answer a matter” before we know what happened. While this is plainly good advice, it opens up some problems for parents. Sometimes, things happen that really seem to need to be addressed, yet it can be deceptively easy to “answer the matter” prematurely. What is the answer?
I believe the answer is to truly have our childrens’ hearts. It’s not foolproof, but if we really have a heart-to-heart relationship with our children, we can often see the clue we need to know how we should respond in a given situation.
It’s not easy to build that kind of relationship with our kids. It takes time and a lot of attention. But it pays off in so many ways – including helping us not to “answer a matter” before we’ve “heard” it. (Kari Lewis)
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