Have you ever heard that saying that for every negative or critical comment you make to someone you need to make ten positive ones to account for it? I've heard that before, and after much consideration, I believe it must be true.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm in no way making the point that there isn't a place for constructive, gentle criticism. That is how we are edified as Christians and brought into a better relationship with Christ and with others. Rather, I'm vying for relationships in which we are less critical and more encouraging. After all, I don't know about you, but I take criticism much better from those who I know are for me and encourage me in my normal relationship with them. I trust them more and handle the criticism better.
And I got to thinking about how I've been handling Bryton lately. There's been many outside factors recently effecting my attitude... a slew of migraines, lots of big thoughts running through my head, a to-do list seventeen miles long and wide (I mean, come on, you guys have seen half of it), etc, etc, etc. And with my mood already being dampered, add on top of that a two year old whose new favorite thing is to swipe all 25 (because we've lost one somewhere - wonder why?) of his magnetic letters off of the refrigerator onto our hardwood floor... normally while his sister is sleeping, and it isn't loud, I promise. Add the fact that the same two year old has a slight problem obeying when his mother tells him to stop, and then has an equally hard time not saying 'no' when I ask him to go sit in time out. Add the fact that he's pushing boundaries in about 300 other places during the same days, sometimes at the same times, and it makes for lots of frustration and lots of time outs.
And if I sat back today and was really honest, I handled my temper well today (which I cannot always say to be true), but if I had to answer whether I encouraged him 10 times more than I corrected him, I'd fail miserably. If anything, it was the other way around. ONE time I remember telling him, "thank you for obeying," when I asked him to go sit in time out and he actually did it rather than going to sit in his bed. One time. Sad.
And I want my kids to know that I'm really their biggest fans. I don't want to be a nag or a nuisance, I want to be an encourager... then when I need to criticize, they will know that it comes from a spirit of compassion and wanting what is best for them.
So if I take nothing else from today - I take this... I want to lift up my babies... love them, and correct them because of that love. Something tells me that if I step back and look for those things to encourage him on and give him an 'attaboy' on, I may realize I have much less to correct him about...