The Three Gates: Helpful Tips for Watching What We Say

Three_GatesIn our home, we have a list of things  we try not to say. While this does seem to help with keeping the peace, it doesn’t cover everything. In order to better help us manage our tongues, we have also begun practicing “The Three Gates”.

If the words we are about to speak do not “pass through” these three gates, they should never be spoken.

Gate One… Truth: Words should not be carelessly thrown around because we are upset or being emotional. We need to think carefully about our conversations and make sure we are speaking the truth. (Zech. 8:16)

Gate Two… Necessity: Yes, the words may be true; this doesn’t mean they have to be spoken. Weigh your words carefully, once said you can’t take them back. (Psalm 37:30)

Gate Three….Kindness: If the words are true and necessary, speak with a measure of kindness. Taking the extra step to ensure our words are kind, helps keep the lines of communication open. (Eph. 4:32)

With the placement of these three “gates” in our home, we are learning to become edifying and gracious. We are taking time to think about what we say, with the intention of maintaining our relationships.

Throughout our homeschooling day, we are constantly afforded the opportunity to grow our character. Using these three “gates” has helped us tremendously. We are all learning to speak with truth, correct timing, and love.

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.”
~ Proverbs 25:11

📢 Chime In!: Do you have a set of “gates” your words must pass through before they are spoken?

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Is Self Awareness a Thing of the Past?

is-self-awareness_a_thing_of_the_pastHave you ever been in a quiet setting and had someone rudely interrupt with a loud comment? I have. I find this highly annoying and equally frustrating. My opposition isn’t necessarily to the comments, but rather to the timing of them. I imagine others might feel the same. And what about the acquaintance who felt the need to point out your growing waist line?

A recent homeschool outing brought this issue front and center for me. I often wonder if people have a lost their “buffer zone”. The little place inside all of us which tells us when something really needs to be said or if we need to restrain ourselves. I wonder why it is certain people don’t seem to recognize when a comment is out-of-place, either by its timing or purely by its existence.

Since these events, it occurs to me that perhaps I need to be taking better stock of my kids’ “buffer zone”. Do they speak at times when it is best to remain quiet? Do they say things which ought not to be said? I would hate to be out somewhere with my children and find myself slinking down in my chair, due to the ridiculous nonsense which just came out of one of their mouths.

I think all of us have moments when, upon reflection, we ask ourselves, “Why did I just say that?” The key is to learn from those situations and not to repeat them. Unfortunately some people not only fail to reassess, but they find this character trait amusing.

Through training and discipleship, we hope to make our children both more self-aware and sensitive to the leading of the Spirit. We try to keep our children conscious of their surroundings and the appropriate decorum therewith. Thankfully, this doesn’t seem to be a frequent occurrence and is often a teaching moment for all of us.

May the Lord continue to do a work in our homes and in our children, continually drawing us closer and making us more like Himself. Through His leading, our heart is to see people as God sees them and to use our lives as a way to reach people for His Kingdom. May we do this through our words, actions, and character.

“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
~ I Timothy 4:16

📢 Chime In!: How is the Lord directing you to help your children learn this important skill?

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