As I've transitioned into motherhood over the past five years, God has been teaching me... a lot. Things like patience, love, kindness, discipline, following through, and the list goes on. Lately I've been learning about the power of a simple hug.
It's confessions time. My kids are not perfect angels all day long. In fact, it turns out those cute little cooing babes are actually broken sinners just like the rest of us. And because of that, my kids throw tantrums; they have meltdowns over the simplest things; they hurt each other and they sass and disrespect my husband and I. So the word is out: We are not a perfect family.
This is where the powerful hug enters. What I've been learning is that there is a great deal of power in bending down and beginning conflict resolution with a hug. It has the ability to defuse the situation. I like to remind my son when he is convinced he's on the receiving end of injustice, "We are on the same team. Stop believing the lie that I'm against you and let's work through this together." There is nothing that models that more than reaching down and giving him a hug. Despite their naughtiness, anger or frustration, I've found my kids are usually looking for reassurance that they are loved and valued. My children usually fall deep into the hug and soak it up for all it's worth. I've discovered that afterwords they are usually much more receptive to what I have to say or even the consequence of their action that may follow.
The other awesome result of hugging your child (even if that is the absolute last thing you feel like doing at the moment), is that it reminds you that they are not an invasive screaming monster or a defiant bully but rather, your precious child who you deeply love. I find it almost instantly calms my demeanor and reminds me of the awesome responsibility God has given me as a parent to train them up in Christ's love.
Living out the Bible in everyday life is a powerful thing and that is exactly what a hug can accomplish:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. -Romans 12:21
Is there a method you use for overcoming evil with good in your home? If not, are you willing to give the hug a shot? The next time you and your child are at odds, rather than jumping into discipline, reacting to their tantrum or getting frustrated that your child is not prefect, scoop down and squeeze them into a hug. Try encouraging siblings who are fighting to do the same. I would even go so far to suggest using this method with your spouse when you are dealing with conflict in your marriage.
Finally, if you really want to capitalize on the simple hug, combine it with a short prayer. Now you are combining the power of God and his love at the same time!