Kids are like bulls in a china shop and struggle to grasp the world of physics. “Don’t slam the door!” we’d get yelled at… but it takes time to learn to be gentle.
It gets a whole lot easier to learn to be gentle and the effects of physics when you have to start paying out of your own anorexic wallet.
“You gotta let it out slow… real gentle like,” my oldest brother said. He was trying to teach me that some things in life required finesse, a degree of gentleness.
A ten-year-old mind trying to coordinate gentle between a gas pedal and a clutch is kinda like trying to teach a coyote to play nice with bunny rabbits.
After stalling our dad’s old orange Chevy work truck, it lurching like a bull from a chute several times, I did my own figuring; less gentleness, more ruthless action.The next time I dumped that clutch, I made sure I pinned that ol’ gas pedal to the mat like an Olympic wrestler. That was the second time my lack of gentleness darn near killed my middle brother Bobby. That time it was accidental.
The time I shot Bobby with my oldest brother Dean’s slingshot wasn’t. That rock dropped him like Goliath… then again, he’d never gone out of his way to be gentle…
I tried to communicate a little better than the generation before us. I’d give details about the consequences of not being gentle with things. “Don’t slam the doors, it’s hard on the jamb, causes drywall cracks, wears out the hardware, breaks the bond of the glue on the applied moldings,” I explained. They just looked at me like I was speaking French…
They got older and drove their vehicles up the rolled curb of our driveway, kinda like they did speed bumps in parking lots; like they weren’t even there.
“You gotta slow down, crawl over them, eventually, if you don’t, you’ll trash your front end and I’ll have to get it fixed,” I warned. All three of them, make that four, including their mom, still hit the rolled curbs like Big Foot does the monster truck ramps.
It’s easy to tell others how to be gentle, the advantages of it, and the disadvantages of being harsh.
Back then I never stopped to consider their perspective… or mine for that matter. I wasn’t gentle. I never learned how to be gentle. I only figured out how to save myself grief physically from the laws of physics.
It never dawned on me that gentleness starts on the inside and when it’s just about not breaking things physically on the outside, it’s legalism…
My girls saw a hypocrite. I could tell them how to be gentle physically, but all I showed them was how to be harsh spiritually.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…” (Gal. 5:22 KJV).
Many of us know too well the love, grace, mercy and gentleness, extended to us daily by our Father… and yet we struggle to pass those free gifts on to others.
I’m reminded that it’s only in Him that we can truly learn to be gentle.