When I read words of calm and self control I balk at the discomfort they bring me. Those words do not characterize my nature. Not one of them would be on a top ten list of words used to describe me. I am verbal, opinionated, passionate, bold. Traits like gentleness are hard for me to muster. And even as I type tonight I am reminded that's why they are fruit of the Spirit...not of my will.
So with all that being said, I refer you to this post by the extraordinarily gifted Ann Voskamp. Even her example is a stark contrast to what happened the first time I tried to use the sewing machine my K received for Christmas. I immediately put the pedal to the floor and tried to steer the fabric through on the highest setting. It was a big mess and my ever-patient husband commented "you'd have a lot more control if you slowed down."
“Therefore, although in Christ, I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love."
– Philemon 1:8-9
I urge you to take a moment to go and read Ann's words, a beautiful reminder to ease up on my pushing lest my children's hearts pucker and "just guide gently" instead. (I actually think there is application for many other relationships in my life as well.)