If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1
When Mason, and then Jocelyn, first started taking piano lessons, they were so focused on playing the music notes right, they gave no thought to the timing. A whole-note sounded exactly the same as a half-note, the same as a quarter-note, etc.
Needless to say, the songs didn’t sound right. I couldn’t even recognize the old standards like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” because their timing was so off. I really thought my kids had no rhythm. However, the more they practiced, the more they were able to play the correct notes with the correct timing.
The process is an awful lot like motherhood.
Having been a mom for over thirteen years, I’ve learned, through trial and error, what works with my kids, and what doesn’t. I’ve created a lot of parenting tricks that I’ve filled my mom-toolkit with. Similar to practicing the notes on sheet music, I’ve used the tools so often, I can quickly pull them out to solve most of the problems we have.
But I’m an old mom, and I’m getting more tired by the day. I find lately that I’m not using the tools that teach my kids to work through their problems. Instead, I’m taking the lazy path and I’m using the tools of reprimand and punishment. Consequently, my household doesn’t sound like the tongues of men and angels like in 1 Corinthians. Instead, it sounds like resounding gongs and clanging symbols.
It reminds me all over again that parenting tricks and tools are far more successful if used with love. Love is the dividing line between patience and impatience, teaching and punishing, getting to the root of the problem and just putting a band aid on things.
If I parent without love, I’m just creating a lot of racket, like Mason and Jocelyn did when they played the notes without the timing. Like them, I need to practice two things at once: using the right tools, and using them with love. It’s only then my home will be filled with the sweet sounds of music and harmony.
Questions for Reflection:
* What are some of the parenting tricks I’ve created over the years?
* Are they as effective if I use them without love?