Speak Gently

Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”


  1. Printed copy of Proverbs 15:1
  2. Sand paper
  3. Cotton
  4. Glue

Proverbs 15:1 is somehow related to my previous blog about Proverbs 12:18. Like Proverbs 12:18, this verse still talks about the use of words but focuses more on how we say it particularly in a conflict.

I mentioned in my previous blog that the words my kids use has been an on-going issue at our home. My eldest son Caleb enjoys teasing her younger sister Zoe with just about anything he could think of. Zoe is the exact opposite. She is refined, serious and definitely cannot be cool about her brother’s jokes. So imagine the petty fights and arguments Vincent and I face if not everyday, every other day. May be exaggerated but every time we deal with it, it really tests our patience and most of the time, it weighs us down! But like any other parent, we don’t want those little fights and little arguments to become a lifestyle among our children. We also know that if we allow it, their petty fights could result to deep wounds and eventually hatred.

One example is from the very first human parents, Adam and Eve. They were the first to experience raising children in the same home but their story turned out differently. They were the first to wrangle with sibling rivalry. They were first to experience the death of a child that precedes theirs. Definitely, they were the first parents to ponder what could have they done so things wouldn’t turn out as it did. We can read it in Genesis 4.

It is true that there is no exact recipe for good parenting but we have the Bible where we can read the very Word of the Greatest Father – GOD. He is the Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). He is the hope to the broken. He knows when we sit and when we rise (Psalm 137). He even knows the number of our hair (Luke 12:7). This is why we are confident, that through His Word, He will guide us to train and teach them to be the person He wants them to be and that is to be lovers of the Most High. Parents, God knows our children more than we do.

So what better way to deal with this issue but with the very Word of God. Here goes our Family Devotionals on Proverbs 15:1.

It is important that we just don’t let our kids read the Scriptures without understanding it. Let’s help them understand it.

We gave each one of them sand paper and one pack of cotton. The sand paper symbolizes harsh words while cotton symbolizes gentle words. We asked them to rub the sand paper on each other’s skin and tell us how it felt. Of course, it stings and it hurts. Like the sand paper, harsh words will always sting and it will hurt the other and it would definitely lead to anger.

Next, we asked them to rub the cotton on each other’s skin and tell us how it felt. They said that it was smooth and light. Again, we illustrated to them that like cotton, gentle words are smooth and light. When used on a bleeding wound, it doesn’t make the wound bleed more but it helps to stop the blood. It actually absorbs the blood. It is true when gentle words are said, it doesn’t stir up anger but absorbs and stops it. As Proverbs 15:1 would put it, it turns away wrath.

We told them to cover the sand paper with cotton using the glue. This is to remind them that gentle words should precede any harsh word.

While we were preparing for this, the Lord made us see our lapses as parents. We had to apologize to them for the times when they were disappointed or angry and instead of speaking gently to them we responded otherwise. Even if we say the right words but the tone is harsh, it still stirs up anger.

Caleb gave examples of the harsh words he says. For Zoe, this wasn’t really her weakness but we encouraged her to be careful with how she talks and be careful with the words she uses. We started giving examples of gentle words like please, thank you, excuse me, you’re welcome and most importantly – sorry.

We had them memorize the verse and post their work on the wall to remind them to speak gently to one another. This also serves as a reminder for Vincent and myself. 🙂