When I was a writing teacher, I was really amazed to find that the very best papers were almost always written by people I had hardly noticed in the class–very quiet people. I would attempt to get those people to speak and share their wonderful ideas, but usually it was sort of a failure because they weren’t good at speaking aloud. What I have remembered from that experience is that quieter people are often worth cultivating in conversation and friendships. Moreover, such people cannot be enjoyed without giving them time, space, attention and appreciation to fully blossom.
I am challenged to make sure I do this first within my family. I want to make sure that each person in the family gets enough of my attention to satisfy not only their immediate needs (for clean laundry, dinner, homework help or a bandaid) but also their emotional needs: to talk about a friend that hurt their feelings; explain how a teacher embarassed them; to share a compliment they got from someone; or their satisfaction in completing a task.
If we look carefully, we can often see small seeds in others which need watering and love to grow and bloom.Part of cultivating my children and husband is looking to see the gifts God has placed within them and talking about them to help the person see them too. I believe God gives us the ability to envision what he wants our children to do and be. I think that is is our job as parents to help our children see that vision of themselves as strong and mature in God, so that they can begin to try to become that person.
One of my favorite Scriptures is in Philippians 4 when Paul says we should always rejoice and fix our minds on things that are true, honorable, right and noble. I’ve just noticed that in Colossians 3:16 he says something similar, telling us to urge each other towards thankfulness when we speak. Again, in Ephesians 5:19-21 Paul says to speak to each other in song and giving thanks. I want to discipline my heart, mind and voice to speak and listen encouragement, thanksgiving, hope and love.