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Duct Tape, Please!

Lynn’s daughter and husband, Betty and Bob, invited her to live with them for an extended period of time as she finished up a college degree and before her next employment. Her children refurbished an attic bedroom and study area for her use. This gave both families some privacy. Betty and Bob had full-time jobs, so Lynn eagerly helped with the cooking and gardening.

After moving in with them, it soon became apparent that Lynn would need to keep quiet on some situations she observed between Betty and Bob. A friend told her, “You may need to keep a roll of duct tape handy to put over your mouth.”

This became Lynn’s mantra. When she observed an attitude, conduct, or action from Betty or Bob that she realized can be detrimental to a relationship, physical health, or employment she reminded herself, “Grab the duct tape and pray.”

Living in the household with an adult child can reveal to the parent some situations that may need correcting, but it also gives the parent a special period of time to demonstrate God’s love and grace. Lynn realized she had a short God-given opportunity to enlarge the relationship with her daughter. To avoid sabotaging this unique opportunity with her words, figuratively Lynn kept the duct tape handy.

The pressure was off Lynn to parent; instead, she could develop their relationship on a friendship basis. She remembered to be a friend and not a bossy parent. As a result their relationship took on new depths and appreciation for each other.

Keeping quiet can be as productive as speaking.

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” James 1:19 (NIV).

Helen L. Hoover


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