Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How We Might Knock The Air Out of Someone At Home

I only remember it happening a few times growing up, but I'll never forget the sensation either. I'd be playing with friends or involved in some sporting activity and someone would accidentally run into me, a ball would smash into my abdomen or I'd fall down in an awkward way.

And all of a sudden it felt like I couldn't breathe. It would take several minutes before I could catch my breath and feel somewhat normal again. It's called getting the air knocked out of you and it happens all the time, even to adults, especially those who play rough sports.

Unfortunately we can do the same, at least emotionally, to one of our loved ones at home.

Often it's done through our words. In a fit of anger we may yell and call someone a name, imply they are stupid or make an unfair (and likely untrue for the most part) comment about their character.  "You're lazy," we say to our teen. "You aren't much of a student," we spew to our 4th grader. Or, "You're just like your mother," we rant to our wife.

Sometimes we do need to say hard or challenging things at but we should never, and let me repeat that, never attack someone's character. We can talk about their current action and why it was wrong or unwise but it hurts deeply and can knock the emotional air out of someone we love to imply something unkind and untrue that they are as a person.

We can also injure through our actions or lack of them. We promise that we'll be there for a game or other special activity but regularly never make it. We make a family member look bad or silly in front of others. Or we brag all the time about one child but can never seem to find anything good to say about the others.

Actions matter. They are the exclamation point on our promises. They are the follow-through to our words. No, we'll never be perfect but don't promise if you can't deliver most of the time.

And believe it or not we can even hurt someone through a look or expression. We all know when someone looks at us with a face that clearly says they are disgusted with or ashamed of us we remember and feel it for a long time. Many a helpful resolution to a conflict or disagreement has been undermined by a look of disdain before the conversation could ever get started.

Are you knocking the air out of those you love? Take inventory. Listen to yourself. Ask others to watch too. Because if we keep doing it, some of the people who matter most to us will simply quit "playing" with us and that would be a tragedy.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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