So yea, I really once said to my children "I want to have a holy family damn it!"
I wrote last time about how the irony of that statement was not lost on my children!
When we think about the Holy Family in Nazareth, I don't think too many of us think of good St. Joseph cussing under his breath when he hit his thumb with a hammer, or Mary ripping into St. Joseph for forgetting to get fish at the market, berating Little Jesus for not putting his things away! I think most of us tend to think of the Holy Family as being at peace and tranquility. Of course St. Joseph had the advantage of living with Jesus, the Son of God and the Blessed Mother and we have to live with - those people! I'm sure it makes a difference.
However, if you really want to have a truly Domestic Church, one of the easiest, and least expensive way to do it, is to simply watch how we speak to each other!
Mothers really set the tone here. If you've ever see a toddler mimic her mother's mannerisms, you know how quickly kids "pick up" on their mom's mood and manner. If you want your children to be sweet, gentle, slow to anger, and to speak lovingly to every one in the home, the mom has to do that first! And that's not always easy when kids are crying, or the dishwasher is spilling water on the floor, or the bank calls to say you are overdrafted - again. But children watch to see how we handle such set backs and screaming obscenities at the bank, while gratifying in the short run, isn't really healthy for the kids or for mom!
Probably my biggest area to work on is how I talk to my husband. When couples have been married a long time, it's easy to fall into some sloppy habits. But moms should never berate the father in front of the children, or worse, behind their husband's back! Now Mr. Pete and I do fight. We've had some beauties over the years and unfortunately the kids have witnessed a lot of it. But we also make sure they witness the apologies and the kiss and hugs that come with making up.
Dads may not be in the home as much because of work, but they too need to guard their language and manner of speech when they are home. One angry outburst of F*#* y#$! to the neighbor will undue everything mom is trying to teach - particularly to the boys and young men. Dads need to reinforce the need for peacefulness and respect in the home.
It is also very important for moms and dads to know that a cross, or misplaced word from them can tear the hearts of their children to shreds. We should never ever call our children names like "fat," "stupid," or "ugly." We shouldn't say them even in jest and never ever allow siblings to taunt each other with these types of words either.
Yet just as the words of a parent have the power to tear down and destroy, the also have the power to build up and teach! I have found that by trying to speak gently and truthfully to my children they are more open to my correction and able to accept whatever bits of knowledge I can pass along to them. Kind words prepare their hearts, minds and souls to accept seeds of wisdom.
A problem I encountered recently over the past few years was the language that my oldest brought home from being on the swim team and working. Mr. Pete and I realize that he is trying to fit into his new status as an adult, but I'm hoping that he will eventually realize that he can do that with sprinkling F- bombs throughout every part of speech! The other kids are watching him and what he gets away with now. I don't want to have to pass this particular test every three years as my other kids come of age.
Lastly, one word that I think doesn't get spoken often enough is "holy." When I hold Rosie in my arms and stroke her hair, I make sure she knows that I think she is a good girl, a pretty girl, and a holy girl. She likes that! I also try to point out little acts or examples of holiness to my other children as the opportunities arise. Holiness is not something that just happened to ancient dead saints! It's something we all need to strive for, and I think by using the actual word, "holy," we can make that goal more real and present for our families.
The wisdom books of the bible have some great advice on the use of the tongue and the trouble it can get us into. It's good to have these highlighted or maybe even use for copy work and memorization!
Psalm 71:24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long.
Psalm 120:2 Save me O Lord from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.
Psalm 137:6 May my tongue clean to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you.
Psalm 139:4 Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.
Proverbs 21:9 It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
Proverbs 10:19. When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
Proverbs 11:12 A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding
holds his tongue.
Proverbs 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a swort, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Proverbs The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Proverbs 31:26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue .
Sirach 4:29 Be not surly in your speech, nor lazy and slack in your deeds.
- Refrain not from speaking at the proper time, and hide not away your wisdom;
- For it is through speech that wisdom becomes known, and knowledge through the tongue's rejoinder
- 14If you have the knowledge, answer your neighbor; if not, put your hand over your mouth.
- 15Honor and dishonor through talking! A man's tongue can be his downfall.
- 16Be not called a detractor; use not your tongue for calumny;
Sirach 6:35 Be eager to hear every godly discourse; let no wise saying escape you.
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