Monday, July 09, 2012


Last Monday,  I was greatly inspired and wrote about how I need to sit down and spend time thinking through the challenges in my life and then writing about them.

Afterwards, I floated downstairs in a post-creative/strong coffee haze and was immediately informed by Lefty that Righty had thrown a jar of peanut butter at him and he had had no choice but to cause his fist to make contact with Righty's nose. Righty then shouted in reply that he was forced to throw the peanut butter at Lefty because he was reading a book instead of helping with the lunch clean-up, a chore they normally share.

I might have murmured idle threats under my breath as I surveyed the stand-off/brawl in front of me.  With thinly veiled sarcasm, I asked them if they had even thought about using the mouth that God gave them to discuss their issue with each other before resorting to violence?  Communication. Words. So much easier than physical aggression.

For me.  

For them, not so much. My twin boys are sons of thunder. They act first and speak afterwards. They act first and think afterwards.

But they are not the only ones in our house who can be aggressive.

One afternoon, when I hadn't yet reached the age of double digits, I was playing with my younger brother in our back yard, near the house.  Alex was probably following my plan of action as best he could, but something he did was enough to spark my temper. I let loose with a swift verbal flood of unkindness.  He was not as quick with his words as I was and he just stood there, looking sad. From the open window of my dad's study, I heard his voice resonate from the cool darkness within: "Erin. I heard you. Is that the right way to speak to your brother?"

Oops.  Busted.

Aggression can be verbal, too.  And that's the type of aggression I find flowing out of myself at times when life isn't going the way I want it to.

Wow.  Exactly the same as my almost-ten-year-olds.  

Sarcasm [sadly, even with my kids] and snap judgments leave my lips so easily, I recognise them as a long-practised habit of mine. So comfortable and instantaneous. I practise very little thinking before I speak and often find myself in difficult conversations and disagreements with my kids that are mostly a result of my personal misperceptions of a situation.

Last Monday afternoon, as I marched self-righteously back upstairs to read to Coo, and the two boys went back to their cleaning, I suddenly realised that my verbal aggression had matched their physical aggression. My hostility had met theirs and meshed with it, forcing love out of the equation of our interactions.  

I made apologies. And it wasn't long before I was given the opportunity, again, to practise walking in love instead of aggression. Because it really is as simple as that.  Who knows?  If I continue practising, my kids might even follow in my footsteps...

Open your book and share your own Mary Moment with the rest of us by commenting here, or copying in a link to your moment. These are an encouragement for all of us to process the challenges in our lives by writing about and then learning from them!

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