Dearly Beloved – An Anger-Free Parenting Model

#MyMassTakeaway… We found a Latin Mass! 4th Sunday of Easter.

We recently discovered there is Latin Mass in our area, and we tried it today. I noticed that the readings are different from the NO readings so I’ll cite it for you.

James 1:17-21. One of the things I love about the letters in the NT is how they are sometimes addressed, “Beloved.” Even when they’re giving admonishment or correction.

Whenever I hear beloved, it strikes me at how charitable the apostles are in their correction. I’m reminded of the gentleness of God’s correction and the gift of the sacrament of Reconciliation.

And I’m always drawn to reflect if I give the same mercy and understanding when I’m called to the task of correction in parenting.

Today James speaks against anger.

“And let every man be swift to hear but slow to speak and slow to anger. For the anger of a man worketh not the justice of God.”

Anger does not accomplish God’s justice.

Justice is giving to each what they are due. What they deserve.

When I’m angry with my kids for disobeying, or whining, or arguing, or breaking something – I’m not giving them what they deserve.

My kids deserve better than my anger.

  • They deserve understanding.
  • They deserve gentle correction.
  • They deserve forgiveness.
  • They deserve another chance.

They deserve the effort it costs me to practice self control.

To calm down, thinking not of the inconvenience they cause to me, but instead of the beauty of their souls, beloved by God.

To think of what they need in this moment.

What they need in terms of guidance, love, connection, direction. What they need in order to know what’s right. What they need in order to choose what’s right.

My anger gives them none of this.

It gives them fear and shame and sadness. Every time I yell at my kids, I give them less than they deserve.

The reading from James gives me a model to help me cast off anger and lead my kids with meekness. Gentleness. Humility. Love.

Be quick to hear.

To listen. I want to pause my tirade and begin asking my kids questions. Get inside their head and heart. Understand their struggle to know what’s good and do what’s right.

Be slow to speak.

I want to lay off the lecturing and enter into a better model of communication. One where I hear what my kids are saying and respond to their concerns. One where they know they’re heard and are more receptive to what I need to say too.

Be slow to anger.

I want to let go of the quick fix of anger / yelling at my kids. It seems to accomplish my goal of “getting them to listen” in the moment, but in the long term, it’s not meeting their needs.

I want to “cast away all uncleanness and malice.” I want to parent my kids with meekness. This is how I will grow in holiness, and lead them to grow too.

And I will start with a pause.

I will breathe in and breathe out, praying through Scripture, “Beloved. Beloved.”

I will let God’s Word wash over me. I will invite the Spirit in.

God gives us the model for anger-free parenting in the Sacrament of Confession. He gives us the examples of the apostles to follow. And he desires to give us his grace.

Beloved.

Dearly beloved.

I will do my part. I will contribute to God’s justice working here on earth. I will give my children what they deserve.

God give me the grace.

Amen.

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