LJ and I have really, (really!) been struggling lately.  I started working a couple of months ago.  It is “only part-time” but I am still gone over 30 hours a week and miss dinner and bedtime at least 4 nights each week.  It seems like it has recently dawned on him that it is not a temporary thing and that this is the new normal.  This has led to a lot of negative attention-seeking.  As I have striven to keep my cool while having my buttons pushed (again and again and again), I have learned that the most difficult thing to keep in check is my tongue.  My response has frequently been to (literally) bite my tongue.

My childhood was less than ideal.  Physical abuse was not a concern but I have since come to terms that there was emotional and verbal abuse.  Gratefully, it was not from my parents but it was from adults in my life.  It is disconcerting the vividness of my memory, both visual and audible, in regards to such things.  As an example, I was probably about 10 when one of the adults in our house turned on the hose, not realizing that I was in the shower.  The shower water became very hot.  I jumped out of the shower, got dressed and went to find out what happened.  I am certain that my 10 year old self was not considerate when I explained to the person that I had been in the shower and the water got very hot when they turned on the hose.  In response, the adult hissed, “I wish it would have scalded you, you little (punk)!”  I think I am still a work in progress when it comes to forgiving that person for that, as well as other exchanges.  They have apologized and frequently told me what an amazing person I have become.  However, even when I am able to completely forgive them, I will not be able to forget the feeling of utter disdain that was conveyed through their words.

In April of 2007, Elder Holland gave wise counsel in this regard.  He stated, “We must be so careful in speaking to a child.  What we say or don’t say, how we say it and when is so very, very important in shaping a child’s view of himself or herself.  But it is even more important in shaping that child’s faith in us and theif faith in God.  Be constructive in your comments to a child – always.  Never tell them, even in whimsy, that they are fat or dumb or lazy or homely.  You would never do it maliciously, but they remember and may struggle for years trying to forget – and to forgive.”  For the entire address, see here.

I hope and pray that I can do a bit better at not only avoiding hurtful words but also at utilizing positive words and constructive assessments.  And, let’s be honest, I also hope and pray that this phase will pass quickly.  (You know, so we can move on to something even more challenging.)