One of the things Jay Younts says in his book Everyday Talk that has been a recurring thought is how much we teach when we’re not even talking to our children. When we talk to a friend on the phone about a problem, do we complain, judge motives, speak in anger, or do we react humbly, expressing a desire that God would be glorified? Anytime we’re interacting, our children are listening and learning about how a Christian lives.
Conflict isn’t fun, but it’s not always a bad thing. We can have differences of opinion and still have unity in a church. We can disagree with our husband and have a happy marriage. What matters most is not whether we disagree, but how.
Our children are watching to see how we resolve conflict. Do we pray for those who have hurt us? Does Scripture come up when we are talking about our reactions? Do we have the humility to say “I was wrong”? Even an infant reacts to anger in the home, and young children are keenly aware when mommies and daddies are unhappy with each other.
I can tell my children to say “Love is patient” when they’re having a conflict, and that’s good. But am I demonstrating a patient attitude myself? Do I think the best of someone, as I am telling them to do? Jay is right. We’re teaching without even being aware of it.
I Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.