Backtracking just a bit, Jay *almost* had me convinced about the "no neutral influences" until last Sunday...when our interim pastor said the OPPOSITE from the pulpit. ;-) It was humorous when Anthony made that point in his sermon; Kevin started poking me and I had to try not to laugh! I can agree that there are no neutral MOTIVES, but I'm still on the fence about INFLUENCES. There are too many examples that I would personally consider to be neutral until right or wrong motives of an individual person are factored in.
Okay, on to chapter three. The basic idea of this brief chapter is that we do not listen to our children in a God-pleasing way much of the time. Although official "parentspeak" is not the norm around here, I do find myself passively listening or nodding. The encouragement to be more attentive to my children's words was appreciated. I especially liked this quote:
"It is much easier to speak first, thinking you will listen later. But often, speaking first means loosing the opportunity to listen at all."
Now, if you have smallish children, or a particularly talkative child, there are occasions in which the talking must be silenced! Children need to learn to please God with their words. Obviously I would stop child A from calling child B "stupidhead." But I would also encourage my children to consider their listener, and to refrain from babbling all day about things of no value.
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. ~ Philippians 2:3-4
If I have a friend over for coffee, she probably does not want to hear the plot of an entire read-aloud book, or a play-by-play of a recently watched Looney Tunes episode or two (or three or four or five). A few minutes of this is understandable, but some children can go on for a very, very long time. Trust me on this one.
If the baby just fell and halfway busted her front tooth out with much screaming and blood, I probably don't care that some unicorns have rainbow tails and can fly.
Controlling my tongue is a sin that I have struggled with my entire life, and my prayer is that I can lead my children to bring glory to God with their words. I also desire for them to grow in the areas of self-control and consideration for others (kindness, love). This of course does not mean that my child is not allowed to babble about whether Spider Man could beat up Darth Vader "in real life." It just means that I want him to have some consideration for his audience.
Granted, I must listen to know when to silence.