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  • Katie Smith

Splitting Hairs and Biting Tongues

Splitting hairs. That's all I hear these days. Hairs breaking left and right, day and night, between siblings, against parental guidance, you name it. We need haircuts with all these dead ends. My hair stopped splitting and starting curling, literally, but I'm biting off pieces of my tongue now from the peevish criticisms and objections about matters that are minor, unimportant, and irrelevant (Merriam-Webster on splitting hairs).

Parenting tests your faith and resolve faster than any other experience. When push comes to shove, will you admit your shortcomings, or continue asking, "who's the parent here?" to your intolerable teen or toddler? When you know you are right, when it feels that their future or character is at stake, piercing your own tongue may be the only solution for hair loss.

I've heard it said that when your children are grown, you must keep your advice to yourself until asked, only then can you have a good relationship with them. Could it be that the same is true during their younger years? I know tongue biting happens throughout adolescence, but I would argue, it begins as soon as children learn to communicate. The more the words shared, the more often I bite down on my proverbial plank.

The Truth about our fallen nature and need for saving becomes increasingly evident with every child taught. There's an invisible mirror reflecting my sin as it stands out through hair-splitting conversations. But I look away from that Truth and focus on pointing out the splinters in their eyes because that's my job right? I must guide, shepherd, and train them up in the way they should go, while pointing out all their flaws. No.... that's the part I keep adding. I still play God-Parent to my boys, forgetting to let God be God.

I must balance the tension of parental responsibility with personal pruning.

The pride of my boys intensifies the pride in myself. It's the blind leading the blind. Sinners raising sinners. It is only through a humble stance below our Creator towards His children that any ground is covered or any solid foundation laid. You can't, and shouldn't win every fight, no matter how many years advanced you are. But how do you know when to bite and when to fight? The Holy Spirit does a tremendous job at this deciphering dilemma. I just have to focus on letting Him work on me. Then, I can rest easy that I've done my job well.

C.S. Lewis said,

Pride is the only thing I need to battle in my home. If I can humble myself in parenting, I can embrace and enjoy each sweet season with my sons. There are so many wonderful moments ruined in the battle of biting words.

"I know that I have not yet reached that goal. But there is one thing I always do: I forget the things that are past. I try as hard as I can to reach the goal that is before me" (Phil 3:13).

The best thing about boys though, they quickly forget about any hair loss and move on to. happy playing...

~Splitting Hairs Carefully and Carelessly

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