Sunday, August 2, 2009

Abusive Talk

( Note: the first bit is a bit hard to read, being couched in vague terms, but this is to protect someone’s identity.)
I have a son/daughter who used to be very self-righteous. This person would become very incensed at any indication from me that they had acted improperly.
One day, I spoke to this person about washing their dishes, which they had been requested to do, and which had consistently not been done. They seemed to have intended to wash them, but inevitably the cutlery and plates would sit in the sink until I took care of them. This person insisited that they had, in general, washed their dishes and yelled at me for saying that they had not done so.
This scenario repeated itself several times. Eventually (and rather quickly I might add) I gave up, and simply always did the dishes. It was easier than being yelled at. (Eventually I did work on it through other means, but it took a while.)

The point here is that it is very easy to cow someone with speech. If this capitulation of mine, as a parent, was so quick, imagine the poisonous effect of abusive speech on a child. Parents may find it very easy and (temporarily effective) to browbeat their children into obedience. For me, the experience of being bullied through speech was a real eye-opener as to the quickness that the victim will capitulate, and the negative feelings generated in the receiver. If you are a parent that yells, look in the mirror once when yelling like that. It should give you pause. Love is DEFINITELY not being communicated.
In Israel, at least, now is the summer break, and even the boys are home from school. Let’s be extra-careful about the ways we use speech, and the ultimate message we are delivering to our offspring.

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