Gently, Please

I can tell by your writing, that you, like me, long for a gentler and more just society.

As a Sociologist, my work involved Affirmative Action issues.

I also volunteered at a shelter for women and children, and I am aware that men are also victims of domestic abuse.

One thing we can all do to make society gentler, is to recognize, challenge, and eliminate the number of violent idioms used in the English language.

Better yet, we can strive to eliminate many idioms altogether, since they are confusing , especially to speakers of English as a Second Language, or English speakers in other countries.

What follows is a little story I made up. Can you see all the implied violence contained in the idioms commonly used in North American English ?

The Visit

I had some time to kill yesterday before my appointment, so I stopped by at my friend Bill’s house.

He and I have always hit it off well together, and to be honest, I like him because he’s a straight shooter who never pulls any punches.

Bill showed me a picture of his new girlfriend, Eileen, and wow, she is drop dead gorgeous !!

I told Bill that I missed seeing him for such a long time, but I’d really been tied up at the office with so many projects. I get angry with my boss sometimes. I feel like yelling at him, but I bite my tongue. Bill understood. His life is also frantic. He told me about his long commute, and how he often gets hung up in traffic.

We had a great visit; it was really a blast.

We always enjoy shooting the breeze.

Then I looked at my watch and saw that it was getting late. I knew that I’d better hit the road. ( End of little story )

If you are listening to someone using violent idioms, I would encourage you to point out to them that this language can be considered offensive.

May we remind others of the power that their words hold.

May our gentle, clear, and uplifting speech be pleasing to the Lord.

Pixabay photo


Fists and Elbows ?

With all the recent focus on germs and viruses, handshakes may be a thing of the past.

This pleases me, since I have small hands, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my hand squashed by someone demonstrating a ‘firm handshake’.

Frightening, however, are the forms of greetings that are evolving. Fist bumps look alarmingly aggressive. I’m sure I would flinch if someone pointed a clenched fist at me!

Equally silly is touching elbows, and possibly dangerous too. People’s bones become more fragile as they age, and poking someone with one’s elbow may be unwise.

I appreciate a greeting that I learned from Harpreet, a colleague of my husband, who is from India. He came to our house and we enjoyed delightful Indian tea, with warm milk.

He also taught us his traditional greeting. With head slightly bowed, and hands folded in prayer position, the words ‘Sat Sri Akal’ are spoken, which translate as :’God is great’. It is similar to other cultures where a bow is a respectful form of greeting.

Hopefully in the future, strangers, upon meeting, will feel no need to touch each other. Bowing respectfully to each other might be good.

Imagine too, how nice it would be if we greeted each other by saying: ‘God is great’ .

Pixabay photo.

Searching For Amy

We’ve been searching for Amy for almost two years.

She is not a puppy that we lost, but one that we are hoping to adopt.

Golden Retrievers are in high demand, especially since the pandemic. We are currently still on a wait list, but we have her name picked out already. She would be our third Golden. A large fenced yard , and swimming opportunities are great for these loving, athletic dogs.

Dogs are so beloved by their owners because they are always so glad to see them, and they always let their owners know that they are highly adored !

Do we consistently tell our loved ones how much we love them, not only through our words, but also through our body language and expressions ?

Sometimes I see people scowling at their loved ones, and this confuses me. People are extremely sensitive to others’ facial expressions.

Infants as young as five months learn to recognize their parents’ facial expressions. Our children especially focus on our eyes, and they are much more sensitive to changes in our expression than we realize. Human recognition of emotions, and the ability to tolerate differing emotions begin in infancy. Moms especially need to be sensitive to this. Emotional intelligence is a learned communication skill.

I let my family and friends know, always, that they are precious to me. I smile when I see them. I look at them fondly, with admiration. My husband knows, by the way I look at him, and my facial expressions, how much he is loved.

He knows how I feel even when I am silent. (Sometimes we think words are most important.)

As Psychologist Albert Mehrabin states, up to 93% of human communication is non-verbal.

God also looks at us, his beloved, with great love and affection. Through Jesus, we are his adopted children. He looks at us with the loving, protective gaze of a parent. He guards us as the apple of His eye. (Psalm 17:8)

May we pray for the grace to be able to consistently communicate to others how precious they are to us, and to God.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

A Nagging Wife ?

Did your parents give you wise advice on your wedding day ?

Before we left for the church, my loving father told me to let my husband be the leader in our marriage, and he told me never to nag him. And, he told me to be a good cook.

Good advice from my Daddy !

The Bible gives dismal descriptions of what it is like living with a contentious, or nagging wife. Proverbs 27:15 says that she is like ‘the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm.’

It says that it would be better to live on the corner of a rooftop, or in the desert, than with a nagging wife. Proverbs 21: 9, 19. Yikes !

Of course, we also know that living with a contentious, argumentative husband would be no better.

My husband and I were required to take a marriage preparation course before we wed , and the need for careful communication was greatly emphasized.

After breakfast, when we feel refreshed, we pray, and then we discuss our plans for the day. We ask the Lord’s help with the challenges we will face.

If I have a request for my husband, I know that I will only need to ask him ONCE, because he ‘hears’ me. Similarly, I ‘hear’ what he communicates to me.

Therefore, neither of us has any need to make repeated requests, or ‘nag’.

A spouse who does not respond to a reasonable request made by their partner in a timely manner is sometimes guilty of passive-aggressive behaviour, which falls into the same category as being chronically late.

There are times that I know my husband appreciates when I don’t try to communicate with him. These are when he’s hungry, or tired, or driving, or focused on another activity.

When we were working, we didn’t talk for the first hour we arrived home, since we were exhausted from dealing with people all day long.

Let us pray that God will bless our communication. May He give us the grace to clearly hear and respond to our partners. In doing this we convey our respect for our beloved. Careful and considerate communication is a vital component of a happy marriage.

Feeling Unheard ?

Do you sometimes feel like your family members, friends, or co-workers are not listening to what you have to say ?

Feeling ignored is an uncomfortable feeling ; we all rightly expect to be shown respect, and listened to.

If you habitually feel this way, ask yourself if you are making any of these common communication errors :

  • Do you speak too softly, or too quickly?
  • Do you mumble ?
  • Are you talking too much ? Do you often complain, or criticize ?

  • Do you yell to get someone’s attention ?

It is important to be able to see the person we are trying to communicate with. Talking to someone from another room is rude, and results in miscommunication. However, this, of course, does not apply in case of emergency.

Perhaps the best course in communication training occurs when one communicates with young children for years. My words were always brief and concise. They still are, since people generally have short attention spans.

At the same time, I always listened carefully to the children. Children who are not carefully listened to, often become adults with poor listening skills.

I also encouraged children, from a young age, not to interrupt others. Interrupting people displays a lack of manners. If someone decides to interrupt me, I just keep talking. Usually people get the message !

Although people may not ‘hear’ us, for a variety of reasons, God always hears us. Whether our prayers are long and eloquent, or whether they are simple pleas for help, God hears the prayers of his children. He loves us, and he hears us. He answers our prayers in his way, and in his perfect timing.

Pictured is ‘Paris’ a seaside Golden Retriever.

I’ll Be Honest With You ?

Are there any expressions that make you cringe ?

I am on high alert when I hear someone say: ‘I’ll be honest with you…’

This tells me that the speaker may not be honest all the time, but that he/she is claiming to be honest with me.

It is an uneccessary expression. We should always be honest (it is the best policy). Therefore, it becomes redundant to ever use the phrase ‘I’ll be honest with you’, or, similarly, ‘honestly’.

If we develop the unfortunate habit of being less than honest, we quickly lose our integrity, and people begin to trust us less. Trust, in relationships, is always difficult to regain.

Let us ask the Lord to help us become people of truth and dependability.

And, let us be alert to those who say: ‘I’ll be honest with you’.

Pictured are neighbourhood ducks.