MAY 16

MAY 16

From Chicken Soup for the Soul Daily Inspirations for Women

May 16

Through the years I often heard my mother say: “When a kid’s in trouble, close your mouth and open your arms.” I tried to follow that advice while my own were growing up, but with five children in six years, I didn’t always succeed.

When my children were teens, they gave me many more opportunities to practice Mom’s wisdom, but I’ll confess that advice wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when a teacher or principal called.

Yet on the occasions when I remembered Mom’s technique, I didn’t have to retract biting sarcasm or apologize for false assumptions or rescind unrealistic punishments. When I held my tongue, I also heard about their fears, anger, guilt and repentance. They didn’t get defensive because I wasn’t accusing.

One of my grown children came to me a few months back.“Mom, I did a stupid thing. . . . ”

I listened for nearly an hour while she sifted through the dilemma. When we stood up, I got a bear hug and heard “Thanks, Mom. I knew you’d help me solve this.”

It’s amazing how smart I sound when I close my mouth and open my arms.

Diane C. Perrone

Whenever a child’s in trouble,
close your mouth and open your arms.

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