I spend all day saying to my girls, “gentle, gentle” in an effort to get them to relate to each other with less vigour and exuberance than a two year old and a one year old would normally exhibit. Understandably they don’t see the merit in it.
They see that gentle doesn’t get them immediate results, gentle won’t yield the toy they want to play with right now. They see results, (often vehement and protesting, but always immediate) when they ignore their mother and forsake gentle.
The dictionary definition of gentle is “mild in temperament or behaviour; not harsh or severe; moderate”. All these descriptions show that gentle seems to have little power, no real thrust or energy behind it. Synonyms are listed as “soft, mild, tender, kind, meek”. It is a word that is seemingly innocuous, a bland kind of word.
But today, I was just wandering around my normal Sunday, and gentle sneaked up and hit me over the head again.
It is counterintuitive and most definitely counterculture, but I am starting to see that there is power in gentle, in things starting slowly, yes even innocuously. There is a value in things building without me even knowing, (’cause then I’d interfere … can’t help myself really). There is even a strength in gentle, in the waiting, the lack of immediacy, the not really knowing, as this builds depth. I think inherently, this I why I persist with my girls, despite my obvious (and continuing) lack of success, because I too understand the hidden power of gentle.
So tomorrow when I (inevitably) say “gentle, gentle” to my girls for the umpteenth time, maybe I should listen too?