I homeschooled the kid’s elementary years, so I was used to being their ‘school teacher’ in the classroom setting, but it was years into homeschooling when I realized that one of my primary roles as a mother was to be a teacher. As they were getting older, the tones and attitudes in their speech started to really wear on me. It was not what they were saying but how they were saying it. As I was praying about it, Proverbs 16:24 came to mind, “Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” I suddenly got this idea to cash in on the science lesson I had just taught on senses. I told them to meet me in the kitchen and blindfolded them. I asked them to stick out their tongue and I put a small dab of horseradish on it. They yelped and moaned. We tried it again, but this time I put honey on their tongue. Yum. That was much better. I shared the verse with them and talked about how sometimes their words sounded like horseradish, but that God wants us to use words and tones that are like honey. We role-played what that sounded like when someone took their toy, when they wanted something, or were asked to do something. I pretended to be them and modeled what kind and sweet tones looked like, and then I molded what horseradish sounded like. They thought it was funny, and we all laughed.
Here is what I want you to see. I was good at teaching science and math, but when it came to teaching principles of the heart to train and equip them, I felt shy and ill-equipped. I was so tired of their tones and needed to do something, but honestly, after the teaching, I remember feeling like it was flat, not deep enough, and I doubted they would retain any of it. I felt awkward and so unsure of myself that it was making a difference. My delivery felt skinny and weak. As the days went on, I would come to them, get down on their level and say, “Remember when I put that stuff on your tongue? How do you think you just sounded?” They had to stop and think and redirect their choice of speech. I began to get the revelation that they were not mini adults and did not need the 12-week course or 2-hour lecture on a subject. They understood me fully, and I had their hearts because I was teaching them through connection and releasing joy through the science experiment. They got it, and I grew in understanding that if I just show up and teach them, they will respond. To this day, with tweens and teenagers, all I have to say is, “That doesn’t sound like honey to me,” and they know immediately their tone was off.
Like it or not, if you are a parent, you ARE a teacher. It might not be of other children or in the classroom, but you are, by God’s design, a teacher of your own children. The more you embrace this part of parenting, the easier life will be for both you and your child. I encourage you to say this out loud a couple of times until it really sinks deep. “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” “I AM a teacher. I proactively teach my child in times of peace how to succeed in life.” Have you received the revelation that to be a parent means to be a TEACHER?