After a very hectic week, I was zoning and relaxing on the couch. I was caught in that twilight phase between sleep and waking when suddenly, I heard the sound of glass shattering. The distinctive sound of shards flying sent me flying upright and shouting. 'Do you have shoes on?"
You see, I knew I was home alone with two boys. Tweens, as the oldest is fond of reminding me. He also has a fondness for ketchup. Ketchup is his favorite vegetable. He dips EVERYTHING in ketchup. My mother in law had a fondness for ramekins. We have dozens of them in various shapes and sizes. Most of them are glass. I already knew that Cheetos and ketchup (I know - gross right?) were on his snack menu. When I heard that sound, I instinctively knew who was involved.
My first instinct was he is barefoot and he's going to get cut. 'Stand still, don't move.' I shouted these words repeatedly. There I was shouting and he was already upset that he had broken the container. I jump up yelling at him and I'm sure I was freaking out. Freaking out was on me, but it jumped right over onto him. My tone was as sharp as those little pieces of shattered glass.
I quickly slipped into my shoes and ran to him to calm him down. It's OK. I didn't want you to get hurt. I'm sorry I yelled. Stand still. You are barefoot. Glass broken like this will send little slivers of glass everywhere. As I was standing there, he was hugging me and I was hugging him, he was calmly and quietly telling me he was sorry he broke the little bowl. I didn't care about the little bowl in the least, I only cared about him and his feet. We cleaned up the mess together and He decided he would go with a plastic ramekin.
We all have our moments of meltdowns in our responses to certain situations. Without being intentionally wrong, we can infuse situations instead of defusing them. My response certainly didn't defuse the situation in any way. He was already scared and I intensified that feeling. Gentle? Nope. I was definitely not gentle. Sharp? Yep. Yelling, sharp and loud.
These mini moments can have lasting impacts. When we aren't gentle, that invariably means that we are responding in a sharp manner. We can all take a lesson from this verse. I certainly will. Be thoughtful of the tone and impact of our words. Even when you're half asleep.
Proverbs 15:1 MSG
"A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire."