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Holding My Tongue

By Jamie Post Melin

“May we all rejoice in the thought that when we say edifying, encouraging things unto the least of these, our brethren and sisters and little ones, we say it unto God.”
”“Jeffrey R. Holland (April 2007 General Conference)

This is the thought I shared at Primary Presidency meeting yesterday. This is the quote that has been on my mind today. I shant write a terrific blog post today because my head is swimming with thoughts and emotions on several fronts in my life. And for this same reason, I have had to work hard to keep my emotions and my attention where they should be today with my children.

Along with Elder Holland’s counsel (the whole talk was awesome, wasn’t it? I felt like hiding because I felt like he was talking to me, directly, and all 20-bazillion conference viewers would know what a sharp little tongue I have!), I have been thinking about two related Dr. Phil-isms (please forgive me–I know–Dr. Phil?? But these are good). First: Never make children carry adult burdens (so I’ve been keeping my concerns to myself); and second: your words and actions write on the slate of who your children are and who they will become. I have been so sensitive about this today, trying to keep them separated.

I do a terrible job of this and I want to be better. When I am with my children, I want my attitude and my words to reflect God’s love for them. I want my countenance to light up when our eyes meet so they know and feel how important they are, and that–even through all the work and struggles of being a family–they make my life worth living. I want my words to encourage and edify, not discourage or demean or burden them or worry them.

Share your feelings on this, will ya? Do you struggle with holding your tongue, with positive discipline, with showing charity at home by the way you speak? What are some things you do to keep your personal ducks in a row so you can give your best to your kids? And vice versa–tell about when you’ve felt the spirit as you “say edifying, encouraging things.”

About Jamie Post Melin

(Editorial Board) was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, educated at UVSC, BYU, and the University of Arizona (BA- English & History), and served in the North Carolina Raleigh mission. While working as a writer/editor and teaching Freshman English, she married a Montana boy. They settled in Livingston (just east of Bozeman in the Absaroka-Beartooth mountains on the Yellowstone River), where she is raising two daughters and a son, and writes to stay sane.

7 thoughts on “Holding My Tongue”

  1. My husband and I were just discussing this talk last night — on the patio, as we escaped the screaming tirade of a house inside — and remembering that we are either inviting or dis-inviting the spirit into our home.

    I was sitting on the ground, muttering something to myself about how I just can't be a parent anymore, prozac, insanity, child-less vacations, 4 p.m. bedtimes…you get the picture.

    Don, though, was as calm and still as a windless pond. "I just re-listened to Elder Holland's talk. I'm trying to stay calm. We need the Spirit to help us know what to do."

    And, as I commented that I would do anything, including paying someone thousands of dollars, to tell me what to do to fix the problems we were having, my son piped up, "Mom, ask the Lord. He won't charge you anything."


    Jamie, I feel for you. We're going through it right now, too. Hugs.

  2. Justine–that's so great! I love what your son said, first because it show that you haven't been teachign the gospel to a deaf wall all these years (how rewarding to hear his simple testimony) and second because it's so true. The simplest and most effective way to get a handle on things and invite the Spirit to our home is prayer. Several times a day, if need be, but it always works, doesn't it? Tahnks for sharing, and hugs right back at ya!

  3. I realized the other day that I talk to my almost-four-year old and my one-year-old completely differently. My girl hears "stop hitting your brother", "I'll help you in a minute", "please be quiet", "get your clothes on", "go potty", "Mommy's busy", etc. all day long. My little boy hears "you're so cute", "good job", "such a big boy", and sometimes "no no". I realized that as my daughter has gotten older that my expectations for her have increased a little too much. I cut the baby a lot more slack, which I think I should, but I am not as kind with her. I take her misbehavior personally because it seems more deliberate since she should "know better". (Plus she's really verbal, so I think it's easy for me to assume that she's smarter and more mature than she is). My husband has the same problem and we're trying to work on positive discipline. It's hard. It's so much easier to just sit on the couch and yell "stop that". But when I step back and see things from my daughter's perspective, I realize that she just needs love and sympathy. I also think I need to read Elder Holland's talk again 🙂

  4. I have noticed similar things in my house. My 6-year-old is much more mature and level headed than most of the Aaronic Priesthood in my ward, and as a result I think that I am frequently harder on him than, in hindsight, I ought to be.

  5. Funny, I was thinking along those same lines last night too. I few months ago my family was going through some trials, and we were desperate to have the Spirit in our home. Because we needed prayers answered so badly we really made an effort to bring peace to our home. We listened to hymns, watched little TV, read the scriptures and uplifting books and magazines. Not only did our answers come, but we treated each other better. I had more patience with my husband and kids even in the midst of our stress. I was noticing last night how now that things have settled down and I'm not desperate I have let these thing slide, and it was showing last night in my kids lack of obedience and my lack of patience. I'm trying to recommit to the things I was doing before. After all, our character is formed as much by the ordinary as it is by the crisis.

  6. You know, I was very hard on myself when I was a young mother. I know I could have and should have been better.

    However, I had four kids, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, sundry other animals, a husband with a sporadic income, three callings, PTA responsibilities, I canned everything I could get my hands on, ground the wheat into flour from which I made bread. I trucked kids all over to various lessons that somehow I scraped up the money for and then went to all the performances and games.

    I honestly don't know how I survived physically, let alone mentally. I wish I'd been kinder to my kids, but before you young girls beat yourself up for snapping at your child yet again, make a list of all the things you did today, and ask how on earth was it humanly possible.

    I do need to pray and stop telling my little neighbor girl to quit her bawling. I give her a cookie and a hug, but still 🙂


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