Be sweet to your family members and it will flow outward to the public. If you are kind and loving at home you will not have to remember to put on your company manners in public. Good manners flow outward to the public. Love and be kind at home and the public manners will be taken care of.
We should avoid hasty, sharp replies especially to our loved-ones at home, because they are the ones who will share all your life's joys and sorrows. I have some suggestions for how this may be accomplished. Much harm is done, and alienation occurs when the tongue is unleashed with the Pandora's Box of accusations, resentments, labelling and so forth. Responding to conflict with violent shrieking resolves nothing, makes things worse, creates more strife; does not improve character of either party, nor does it help anyone in their spiritual walk.
This is a lovely poem but it applies to adult children as well. We must be patient with all family of all ages and remember they are not all trying to destroy you with their requests and pleadings.
Example: Someone in the home asks you to reconsider a decision that is not of great consequence. To keep from getting angry, you may say, "I know you want to do that, darling, but right now we are in a lot of hurry and we will have to decide that later, or leave that til tomorrow." You might get very creative with substitutes that will soothe a request without changing your plans drastically. This kind of solution reduces the anxiety on both sides.
Another thing that is good to think about regarding your temperament in the home is having an accountability time at the end of the day. Gather your family and ask them to recite a good thing about the day. If they know they will be embarrassed to remember their outbursts at the end of the day and bring darkness upon a lovely day at home, they will check themselves. Teach yourself and them to think before they speak. Will this outburst be remembered for the rest of my life? Will I be creating a history in my family that will grieve me later, and later and later?
With each word, you are creating memories. I am saying this from experience. What will your family remember about you? You have the power to change, through prayer and self-control. Note that human beings are more important than things or plans or accomplishments or even education. These are people with souls that you want to help in their eternal destiny. Instead of blowing up when your plans are thwarted, think of the PERSON, the living, breathing human being created by God, and their soul that you may be sullying with your anger.
Remember to love others in the family as valuable human beings, because one day they may not be in your life, having passed on to eternity, and your memories will bring heartache that will come back on you at unexpected times.
As my mother told me when her mother-in-law passed away, "Always remember to love. It is more important than any issue, any belief or any misunderstanding. Love and give the benefit of the doubt."
I will add: Give your loved-ones grace and favor. We forgive our children for their tantrums because we know they are learning to grow up and their minds are not fully developed. I will quote an old saying: "Be more grown-up than they are and use your mind to develop their minds." Avoid responding with a tantrum. Remember the family is learning from your reactions. Forgive your grown children for their immaturity and tantrums, as well, and continue to use your mind to develop their minds.
If you learn to substitute a yes for a no, you can avoid a lot of frustration when you are tense. You can say, "We cannot do that right now, but what we can do is...."
If you realize the family consists of human beings with souls, you will not be so inclined to herd them like animals or command them like dogs. As the old saying goes: Some people raise their children in the nature and admonition of the Lord, but other people who are too impatient to do that, just jerk them up. Wouldn't you rather be gently taught than jerked (yanked, harshly pushed) up?
There was a preacher of the 1800's who wrote "When commanding comes in the door, loves goes out the door." If your child or parent, brother, sister, grandparent, father, is standing still or sitting still, there is no reason to be in a panic or be impatient. You can get their attention without a lot of drama and instruct them in a reasonable manner.
While your rights and your authority are God-given, they are not more important than patience and kindness and love. If you exert the former without the latter, the impact is lessened considerably because you will not have the heart of your people. They will not be hearing your points because they will be so distracted and traumatized by your erratic and flamboyant lecture. You will become more desperate to get them to cooperate with you. You will have to command and yell and scream and push and shove when you do not have their love.
When people become harsh, we tend to look more at their harshness than at the things they are telling us. We see them as untamed and obsessed with their own rights.
I speak from experience on both sides!
Napoleon once said of Christ, that though he had no commanding armies, he had the voluntary love of his followers:
"Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for Him."
People who do not understand the concept of alienation, empathy and love will be forever demanding and commanding, and subsequently frustrated and bitter that no one seems to be cooperating with them. Love, kindness and patience will draw more respect than screeching.
Without practicing love and kindness, you will be forever commanding, but if you appeal to your families hearts, they will comply with you in many ways and go the second and third mile.
This is not applicable only to those who have children at home. It is for everyone, any age, in a home.
In summary, it is very effective to study the word "empathy." It is more than sentimentality. It is the way Christ wants us to love one another by sharing each other's sorrows and hopes and desires and honoring their requests. My husband always says, "If you can possibly be kind, do so. No thing, no personal offense and no purpose is more important than love. Be a possibility thinker by looking for ways to make love possible."
Also, study the word "alienation." People are alienated by harsh words, accusations, and bossing.
Just a reminder to be kind in the home and to your own parents, brothers, sisters.
We mentioned at the marriage retreat we both attended, that bad manners ruined more marriages and family relations than almost any other kind of distress or upheaval. Substitute patience and kindness for bad manners.
Something my husband has said in sermons: After a person forgets himself and goes into "the far country"(referring to the prodigal) he is always headed for a fall. We always suffer the consequences of our temperament. Do you want life at home and with your parents and grandparents to be sweet? Then let go of your own way and allow God to give you back your sweet temperament.
The far country, he said, is also a state of mind. When you reject the manners, tact, and the values you were so graciously endowed with, you enter a state of mind like the prodigal, and go to "the far country" in a spiritual way. You lose your sweetness and develop harshness.
It will help to keep in the foremost part of your conscience that your husband, children and parents and grandparents and grandchildren are all in Christ, and being in Christ, they are your brethren, all connected by the blood of Christ. When you see them as members of the Lord's body, not just family members, your treatment of them takes on an important light. You must treat them as kindly as you would any member of the church, for you know you must face them the next day. Besides, when you blow up, you have to go around picking up all the pieces of offense, apologizing, asking for forgiveness, reconciling, and all those painful things. Then you are stuck with embarrassing-moments memories. It is better to restrain yourself.
Just a reminder.