There are many situations and circumstances that cause me to question if I have communicated well. When it comes to family relationships especially in raising teenagers it can be complicated. I don’t usually question whether I have communicated efficiently or clearly but rather I question if I have expressed myself in love.
There have been some very hard conversations as of late in my household. Teenagers are not easy. I waited one afternoon to have a very necessary and important talk, because I was home and my boys were not, the only option I had was to wait. I knew it was going to evoke many emotions. My heart was stressed and hurting over responses that seemed to have become the norm, yet were not acceptable. In the time I had to meditate on what would be the best words, expressed in the best way, I learned some things.
When it comes to problem solving with my teenagers, there are a few points that jump out at me reminding me that no matter what I say, I want it to be a message of my love for them that is wrapped in kindness.
In order to know how to speak, I have to understand what is truth and what is love. As 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us Love is patient, and kind, not envious or boastful or proud. Love does not dishonour, or is selfish or easily angered. Love does not keep record of wrongs. Love rejoices in the truth and protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres. Wow! There are a lot of requirements to fulfill and expected of the love I show. One of the areas I get to show my love most, is in my communication with my boys. I have to be very intentional.
When it comes to problem solving with my teenagers, there are a few points that jump out at me reminding me that no matter what I say, I want it to be a message of my love for them that is wrapped in kindness. There may be different points for you. These are the ones that I work on and that speak to me. I work hard to extend patience to them. It is not easy at all. Patience is waiting with contentment. I work hard at being content with who they are, even if in the moment of conflict, I am not content with what they have exhibited. I pray hard as I wait for the growth, maturity and change that is needed in their lives with patience, always finding ways to speak what is positive into their lives. I want to make sure that I don’t dishonour my boys. I have to work at making sure I deal with the issue at hand and not have them feel that I am always bringing up the past wrongs.
A verse from John 17:17 helps me to focus on how to know what truth is. “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” It is God’s Word that is truth. His word reminds me to work now, at training up my child. His word reminds me not to grow weary in doing good. His word reminds me that even God disciplines us. God gives us the best example of a loving parent. Speaking the truth in love does not mean that we are not disciplinary or frustrated or experiencing righteous anger. Because the love I have for the boys is fierce- filled with wanting them to walk in truth; wanting to protect them from a future of hurt and unnecessary mistakes; hoping to bring out the best in them and their potential and speaking life into them so that they keep going, I don’t have an option of avoiding the hard moments in our relationship and communication. I have learned that just because things might be hard to say, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be said. Just because my boys don’t want to hear something, doesn’t mean that they don’t need to listen. Delivery of message is important. It has to happen. I just have to be aware of how it happens. The “harsh” truth does not need to be “brutal” honesty. It has to be loving building honesty. Every time I am entering a difficult conversation with them, I hear the whisper in my ear from Ephesians 4:15-Speak the truth in love. I am reminded even when I don’t feel like it because it has been hard, that I must always speak, I just can’t forget to love even more.
Thank you Shireen for the reminder (gentle rebuke) to always communicate the truth in love. Sometimes we forget about “love” when speaking to our teenage/early 20 yr old boys. Thanks again!