Soon we will be coming up on barbeque season, for me anyway. Although I have seen people barbeque in the snow. When grilling a burger, it’s easy to burn and it won’t be well cooked if you don’t flip it on the grill. Flipping a burger, even several times, and adding seasoning, gives it opportunity to cook just right. I can see it on the grill and imagine its savory taste even right now. Similarly, while training your children up in the ways of the Lord so that, when they grow old, He will not depart from them, and those are our marching orders from Proverbs 22:6, don’t forget to flip your comments back and forth.
Saturday morning is cleaning time in the Bower household. Jason is buried in his ipad, lost in a gaming battle. As she opens his bedroom door, mom calls out, “Son, put the gaming up. Let’s get your room straight.” “yeah, yeah, Okay, in a minute,” Jason muffles a reply.
Here, mom has a choice. She can choose power. She walks to his bedside, grabs the ipad out of his hands, clicks it off, and orders, “I said now, young man.” Jason will nut up, mouth off, and reluctantly comply.
Mom could also, however, choose relationship. Confront. “Okay, son, what part of let’s go did you not understand?” Jason would test the limit with, “I said okay mom, in a minute.” Here is where mom notices her son’s emotional fever and so she uses her active listening. “Wow, Jason, you’re really locked in on that game right now.” This acknowledgement lowers Jason’s emotional fever to where he is more receptive. "Yeah, I haven’t gotten this far in the game before.” “You’re excited to be winning,” mom observes. Having flipped to active listening to engage her son in the relationship, mom can then make a suggestion. “Tell you what, take a moment to pause the action, so you can pick up where you left off after we tackle your room.”
Make the direction. Flip to active listening however many times it takes to see your child’s emotional fever come down. Return to a revised direction. You retain your authority, ditch the power, and build the relationship. Don’t forget to flip it.