One night after my daughters were arguing, I asked one of them, “Emily, why can’t you and your sister just be nice to each other?” Her response? “Dad, haven’t you ever noticed that when you and mom get along, we all get along?” Ouch! That hurts! But she’s right. When my wife and I are short, harsh, or argumentative, our kids are too. When my wife and I are treating each other with patience, kindness and respect, our kids seem to get along much better.
I’ve found that there are so many times in my own life when I want my children to have more respect towards me and my wife. There are times when I want them to be more helpful around the house. Sometimes I want them to be more kind, or I want my wife to be more kind. There are times that I want them to be more patient. Well, what can I do about what I want?
What I’ve found is that instead of demanding or asking for those things from them, it’s really better when I exhibit these qualities myself. I found that if I’m sowing the seeds of kindness to my wife and showing more patience with her and with my children that they respond in kind. I discovered that if I’m being more helpful around the house and my children see me pitching in, then chances are that they will do the same for me and the rest of the family.
This is the concept of sowing and reaping. No doubt you’ve heard the proverb, “…whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” When you want kindness, you plant the seeds of kindness and that’s what grows. You desire patience, so you scatter kernels of patience and you harvest the fruit you planted. This concept of sowing and reaping is very, very important in relationships.
So, the next time you want to plow into your spouse or children and demand that they give you the things you want, dig a little deeper into your own soil. Show them the kindness, patience and helpfulness that is growing in your own life, and you’ll see the seeds you’ve germinated bear a fruitful harvest in their lives too.
How do you sow seeds into your spouse? Into your children? Please share your thoughts with me.