Because my book only contains two areas of application (marriage and adolescence) where fiery darts are concerned, I am being impressed to include a series of posts having to do with the application of how to fight the fiery darts encountered in parenting! Up until now, the theme of my blogs have been a bit random. Well, maybe not a bit but a whole lot random. It was suggested to me way back when I began blogging to do something like I am now attempting, but it just never happened. So, here goes people. As always, I welcome and appreciate your feedback.
Oh, mom, I was only teasing! You know I don’t really mean that! Lighten up, we were only having fun.
Are you kidding me? ! Since when has it been okay to put someone down or say all manner of false things about them as long as you say it in a kidding way? Since our day, that’s when. And may I be more specific here–since our kids (and us adults) have been exposed to a steady diet of negative teasing disguised as humor on almost any sitcom you care to watch. TV and movies are masters (and I emphasize the word, ‘masters’) at this type of negative humor and the power of their influence can be seen and felt whenever a group of people are hanging out together. (It makes me sad to write that!)
Given the fallen nature of man, we shouldn’t be surprised that we have succumbed to thinking that humor is a lot more funny if the words we use are negative! And while I’m not surprised that people who reject Christ and His teachings have embraced this type of humor, it bothers me DEEPLY that Christians have bought into this LIE! (I’m just calling it like I see it folks) Actually, it’s one of the most popular and successful fiery darts in use today! Um!
I was disturbed about this when my own children were small. So much so that I became very selective about what they watched on tv and videos (no dvd’s back then) and I limited their amount of exposure to both. That’s when the family rule, NO NEGATIVE TEASING, came to be established.
Here’s an example of it’s early beginnings. When anger is being expressed, it’s only natural to verbally express that anger. Right? And you can’t use just any words! It has to be words that pack a punch! So, whenever my children expressed anger in the midst of some conflict they were having with each other, out would come those words that had been sitting there in their minds just waiting for the opportunity to be released! It would be at times such as these that they would hear me say something like the following:
“Your sister (or brother) has a perfectly good name. You will use that name when addressing each other.”
My children figured out that they could get away with using hurtful or negative words as long as they cloaked it in humor. (Do you suppose the idea originated with Mary Poppins? You know, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down! There goes that fallen nature again, taking a good idea and perverting it!)
Well, just like Barney Fife, I nipped that negative teasing in the bud! Whenever, I heard negative teasing disrupting the peace of our home, I countered with what became a very familiar phrase around our house,
“That’s negative teasing!”
It worked pretty good, I’m pleased to say. And you can be sure that as my children grew older and wiser, they wouldn’t hesitate to call their father or I down when they heard either one of us violate the family rule! (Parent’s struggle with that ole fallen nature too, you know! Not an excuse; just stating a fact:( My children held my feet to the fire on that WHENEVER they had the opportunity. (Don’t you just love the accountability factor that can prevail in a family!)
Actually, it’s all about making memories (which I’ll cover in another post). I was keenly aware that my children would be making all sorts of memories as they grew up in our home. I was determined and deliberate that most of those memories would be positive. Therefore, negative teasing had no place in our home. And apparently, God agreed! Note the following verse:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
Taking this verse to heart then we will examine the words that are coming out of our mouths either in anger or in jest and if those words don’t build up those who are listening to us according to their needs, then we need to zip it! And keep it zipped until we have determined what our hearers need to hear and thereafter, fashion our words accordingly. Good idea?