How did you do with your family learning our June verse? (“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”) If you didn’t get a chance to memorize it, try working on it this week and start the July verse next week.

In training our children to be peacemakers and reduce conflict with their siblings and friends we need to train them how to communicate well with one another.  Particularly this summer when siblings are spending more time together (if you only have one child, they may be playing with friends more during the summer), we can all begin to get irritated with one another easily. 

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1


Sometimes what we say isn’t what makes others angry, it’s how we say it. If someone yells at you to give them a toy, do you want to give it to him? If he asks kindly with calm talk you may be more willing to share. 

 Talk about the words, “harsh” and “gentle” and what they mean. Model the two tones by saying “get your shoes on” in a ‘harsh’ tone and then a ‘gentle’ tone. Have your children identify which was which. Then have them try with their own phrase, (“Give that back!”), saying it the two different ways.

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I found this activity on a homeschooling blog called, “Not Before 7 Teaches”. It’s a great way to physically demonstrate “harsh” vs “gentle”.

Materials: sandpaper, glue, cotton balls

1. Cut a piece of sandpaper for each student. Have them rub the paper on their arm and talk about how it feels. Clearly, it doesn’t feel good. Do they want people to come up and rub their arm with that? No!

2. Explain how our wrath is like that sandpaper. When we speak in an angry tone and use angry words, they feel like that sandpaper. No one wants to be treated that way.

3. Then rub their arms with a cotton ball. Talk about how it feels. It feels much nicer. (In fact, my girls loved it!)

4. Explain how the soft cotton ball is like our soft words. When we are gentle and kind to someone it feels good to them.

5. Explain that this verse tells us that when someone “rubs our arm with sandpaper” we can “rub their arm with cotton balls”, meaning that we can use soft words to turn away their wrath.

6. End by gluing the cotton balls on to the sand paper, which takes a “soft word” and “turns away wrath”.

Hand motions:

Gentle answer = open and close thumb and pointer finger (like a little bird beak)

turns away= move hand as if pushing something out-of-the-way

Harsh word= open and close whole hand (big bird beak)

stirs up = pretend to stir something

anger = make an angry face

Then once you have these signs established when you find your children using angry words you can use a simple reminder by making the “gentle words” sign. Or even saying, “use your gentle words please”.

Any ideas you would like to share for memorizing Proverbs 15:1?