"Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim." Proverbs 15:4 (MSG)
I am running down the road, one hand on the buggy, the other pulling the scooter. Bits that shouldn't be jiggling are jiggling hard.
As we turn the corner and start to descend the slight hill I say "Go on, you can go down by yourself" I take my hand off the scooter.
My daughter stops and starts to cry "No! I don't want to ride." She stops, folds her arms indignantly, there are no tears, she's just making noise.
"But we're late" I protest.
"Put your hand back on the scooter!" She pushes out her bottom lip. In my head I turn into my mother and say 'Are you mad? Let me help you back on to the scooter with a slap and help you down the hill with a push...'
In reality I say, "You are so horrible, just a horrible child" as I grab the the scooter just about giving her time to jump back on.
By the time we get to the school gate, I am sweating and out of breath, but we made it! I watch her drag her feet as she walks from the gate to her classroom, then I go to the scooter park and throw her scooter down.
I start to walk back slowly and catch my breath, by the time I get back to the road I am calm again, I would usually pray on the way back, instead I am convicted -'How can you call your daughter horrible?'
'But she is" I argue.
God's reply is beautiful - I start to recall all the good qualities she has, always making me laugh and joyful, forgiving, bold and very beautiful.
After school I have a peace offering, I tell her that I am sorry for calling her horrible. She says, yes and indulges in the peace offering.
I pray that she will remember my good words that are edifying and not the harsh words I utter when I am frustrated. I also pray that God will help me be a better parent. I am very careful not to ask for patients, as I'm not ready for testing in that area just yet!