I’ve been doing a lot of watching of teasing.
Fellow seeker of wisdom: Remember that getting the whole picture and not making hasty judgments is a part of finding wisdom. Thus, a wise mother will spend a lot of time watching and evaluating. If you have read my blog for awhile, you’ll notice that I’ve been wrestling with teasing conceptually for several years. I believe that teasing can be enjoyable and blessed of God. My questions are how and why?
Specifically, I’ve been watching my children teasing each other. Sometimes, the teasing is welcome, but often (and mostly) it is not. I have also been considering my own response to teasing. While I lightly say that my husband never teases me, nor do my friends, that’s not entirely true. They do tease, and I do enjoy it. Sometimes.
For example, my dad and brother and husband take great delight in catching grammatical errors I make. They point them out with great mirth. I can truthfully say that I actually welcome and delight in this teasing. It makes me laugh, not only that they’ve identified an error (Secretly, I make far more than they identify), but also that they think it so fun to point it out.
I believe there are two reasons the teasing is enjoyable: First, I’m secure in my word making ability, and not particularly insecure that I make grammatical mistakes. Second, I know that my dad, brother, and husband love me and actually have great regard for my knowledge of words.
So, when I see one of my children teasing another, I’ve started asking questions along these lines:
- Does your sister know that you love her?
- Do they have confidence that you always stop when they say stop? Or do you usually get a few extra jabs in?
- Are they expecting you to be unkind in how you tease?
- I’m not talking about this time, but rather your reputation about teasing.
I’ve been trying to explain that when they do not lavishly love their siblings, they do not have freedom to tease them. That’s not just because teasing without love can be (and often is) unkind, but also that teasing without love can be (and often is) misunderstood.
I still don’t know what to do with the stranger that makes off the wall teasing comments in the grocery store. This teasing is not given in love, and can be misunderstood; nevertheless, I believe it is meant kindly and is a form of “good teasing.” But I still think that teasing among siblings should be governed by love.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about love and receiving teasing.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;