As my difficult son returned home, it created a lot a chaos in the home. He does not get physically destructive, mostly just spiritually and emotionally destructive. We knew things would be difficult for a while, but wanted to believe we could handle it. We could not handle him, and he is currently out of the home, but in a very safe place. There has been a lot of leftover emotion here and everyone tends to get a little too irritated a little too easily. Far too much bickering and petty arguing. Early on in the summer I wanted to do something to prepare for his arrival emotionally. I knew of a book that we had studied from early in our marriage, and I wanted some of the lessons from that book. It turns out that it has been rewritten, and is rather difficult to get a hold of. It is called Strengthening the Family, and is put out by LDS Social Services. It can’t even be ordered online, and everyone who knew about the book didn’t have a copy. We had tried some other programs, but they just weren’t what we needed. Finally last week we were able to get our hands on a copy through an unexpected source.
Yesterday we had our first lesson, and there was such a strong spirit. This was exactly what we needed to re-hear. I’d like to summarize what we talked about.
The chapter we focused on was called “Communicating with Love.” We discussed the effect that our words have on those around us. Even unintentionally it is harmful to use words that lecture, moralize, preach, interrogate, discount, placate, provide empty reassurances, judge, condemn, threaten, blame, criticize, ridicule, or ignore another’s feelings. We recognized some of those phrases that have popped up in our home. We recommitted to stopping those behaviors, and to pattern our communication after the Savior. The lesson points out how the Savior chose to communicate. He was slow to condemn, forgiving, compassionate, considerate of His family, willing to return good for evil, loving of children, appreciative, eager to serve, and willing to sacrifice. We finished the lesson up by practicing using statements that start with “I,” and communicate how another’s actions affect us. We practiced using these types of forgiving statements instead of starting out our sentences with “you” and using blame. Most of the family caught on very quickly. I am so happy we finally found this lesson. I think we need it over and over again!
It has been 24 hours and there has not been a single argument, fight, disagreement, or unkind word spoken here. It is amazing how a parent can know exactly what is needed and where to find it. I only wish we could have found it a little earlier. 🙂