July 3
There is nothing stronger
in the world than gentleness.

Han Suyin


Today's Meditation:

I love thoughts that present paradoxes.  Gentleness seems by definition not to be a strong approach to life, as the strong people and things that we get to know do not need gentleness to accomplish what they need to do.  But I've watched people use gentle words to calm others who seemed to be ready to use violence, and I've seen parents and teachers use gentleness to turn tense situations into calm ones.

Of course, the greatest strength of gentleness is shown when it's a way of life, not just a part of a situation.  Most of us don't learn of the power of gentleness while we're growing up, for we don't have a whole lot of teachers to show us how positive a force it can be.  But I know from experience that young people who are treated with gentleness are much more likely to treat others in the same way, just as young people who are taught violence grow up trying to deal with situations using force and violence.

Be gentle.  Be gentle with those you love, with yourself, with those whom you really can't stand.  As you learn to apply gentleness effectively, you'll find that people respond very positively to you, for you're treating them with respect.  In my high school classrooms, for example, I never deal with issues with force or threats, and for this reason I almost never have to deal with any behavioral issues, even in classes of 35 or 40 people.  My students know that I respect them and that I treat them gently--though I don't baby them--and thus they feel no need to do the acting out that generally results in problems.

Be gentle.  With yourself and others.  You'll be surprised and amazed at just how far gentleness can take you, if you're patient enough to stay gentle, even when results aren't very obvious.

Questions to consider:

Why do most people never consider gentleness as a way of life?

Is gentleness a sign of weakness, or a sign of strength?

What kinds of steps might you take to start treating yourself and others with gentleness?

For further thought:

In our rough and rugged individualism, we think of gentleness
as weakness, being soft and virtually spineless.  Not so!
Gentleness includes such enviable qualities as having strength
under control, being calm and peaceful when surrounded
by a heated atmosphere, emitting a soothing effect on those
who may be angry or otherwise beside themselves, and
possessing tact and gracious courtesy that causes others
to retain their self-esteem and dignity.  Instead of losing,
the gentle gain.  Instead of being ripped off and taken
advantage of, they come out ahead!

Charles Swindoll


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