Monday, March 5, 2012

Sandwiches vs. Reality -or- Being a Good Wife

Don't you just love it when life fits together in that puzzle piece way?  When you hear a word or message that speaks to you somewhere down deep and it's just so applicable...

That happened, to me, today.

My friend Sarah shared an inspiring podcast ('The Respectful Wife' by Mark Driscoll) with me and a few other of her married compadres today- bonus!  It's a free sermon.  (Search Mars Hill Church in your iTunes to find some more... think I'll be doing that soon.)  I'd upload it here but it's nearly an hour long - I highly encourage you women to go and check it out!

Whoa.  It's always been a struggle for me to be a deliberate person - deliberate in word and deed as a girl-now-woman, a daughter, sister, wife, teacher, mother...  I'm a boisterous, opinionated, passionate, highly independent but sometimes self-righteous person, and it's hard to be deliberate when your mouth moves faster than your brain.  I was convicted to be a more deliberate wife in thought, word and action because of Mr. Driscoll's biblical and God-hearted message.

It got me thinking - where else can I be more deliberate?  A message I kept hearing over and over in the podcast was "Are you a nag?  Do you drill, drill, drill a message in?"  *Squirming like the proverbial schoolboy* Maybe Mr. Driscoll was prodding a sore spot... In a particular class period students are always saying 'You're so negative!!'  Let me say, it never ceases to take me by surprise.  I have NEVER been called a negative person, in any arena.  But as Art Instructor Mrs. Andrews in First Period I am 'negative' because I 'always tell them what they're drawing wrong'... but I know I'm not.  What I know is that they won't get better until they fix their mistakes.  What I know is that I'm following the 'sandwich method' - for those of you who didn't study education, that is when you begin a critique with a 'warm fuzzy', add your criticism, and finish with another 'fuzzy'.  It's all very technical.

But no matter how many sandwiches I present my kids, regardless of how firmly my methods are built upon best practices, the reality is that they feel criticized.  The reality is that I need to be deliberately positive and encouraging.  And I started thinking - obviously a 2:1 ratio of encouragement to criticism is faulty.  People (husbands, children, students, friends) need to hear good things about themselves - to the point where one feels repetitive.  I may know that I'm supporting Koby, but the reality may be that he's focused on a criticism that I utttered in a moment of frustration.  Being deliberate, showing discretion: it takes effort.  Being a good wife, teacher, mother should be hard.  I think it's something for which we must continually strive.

So, as I listened to my free podcast while Knox napped after school, I was motivated and inspired to to apologize to Koby for some hurtful things I'd said when I should have been encouraging and understanding.  Here's the scenario that happened:

Enter Husband.
Husband: Hey, whatcha doin?
Me: Oh, listening to a sermon on how to be a better wife.
Husband: Huh, that's what my devotional was about today.
Me: What?
Husband: On being a good husband.
Both: Smile.
Enter swoon.
And life just sometimes fits.  Thanks God.

In other news, we taught Knox to growl.