You Don’t Understand Me

“You don’t understand me,” my mom said as she began to cry. The words stung. I knew they held some truth in them. I want to be gentle with her – and be lovingly compassionate with her. I can do that most of the time, but then there are those times – when she begins to accuse me falsely or when she goes into a complaining mode – that I get worn down and snap at her. Rather than seeking to understand, I react to the words that spill out of her mouth. If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13 I read these words the other day and immediately knew they were meant for me. Sometimes I am too quick to answer before I hear what another person is really saying. Because of Alzheimer’s my mom struggles to retrieve words. Often what she says is not really what she means at all. Thus, I am getting lots of opportunities to practice listening to her intentions rather than her words. She may want butter and ask for cream. She’ll say her glasses are foggy when she feels dizzy. She’ll say she does not need to shower when what she is expressing is that she needs help in the process. Living with my mom grants me many opportunities to grow in listening to the meaning behind words. When I do that, my responses connect with what she really is trying to express rather than what bubbles up out of her mouth. Conflict between any individuals is best addressed by sincerely trying to...

Communicating Value to Others

A fool has no delight in understanding but only in expressing his own heart. Proverbs 18:2 Toni, A Veritas Academy receptionist, has a way of communicating encouragement by her words and actions. Regardless of her workload, or what has transpired in her day, she looks for ways to be uplifting.  She demonstrates that she values others- never sending a silent message of indifference. I love that about Toni and want to be more like her. What we communicate to others has profound influence.  Last week, I attended an information meeting at a nationally acclaimed university and left with a negative mindset about the institution, formed largely by what the presenter said and how she said it.   Regardless of how accurate her presentation was, it influenced my belief about the institution. Imagine how impressionable the hearts and minds of our children are, who are in the process of developing their thoughts and figuring out their beliefs.  What they hear serves to shape their thoughts.  What they think eventually becomes their beliefs, which form their personal reality. No wonder the scripture is full of warnings about our tongue. And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.  The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.  James 3: 6 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4: 29 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that...