On Friday I read this scripture from Proverbs 14:1 –
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
It was the day after I had been emotionally triggered by an awkward situation in which a woman who I was sent to for help was quite rude to me. (Now, I’m not sure who the woman was, nor what kind of day she had, but her words held nothing to help during a situation in which I was already quite vulnerable.)
As I pondered that scripture and the behavior of the night before, I began to think about womanhood. And what I’m teaching my daughters about being a real woman. I decided to write a few pieces of advice here to give to them later.
Building Up and Tearing Down
To edify means to build something up. I think women who build others are quite remarkable.
I’ve read many articles lately about “being a woman in a man’s world” and about how if a woman is in a position to correct then she is seen as a “witchy woman” and “oh! The unfairness if it all.” And maybe it is unfair. But perhaps, we’re doing it wrong when we’re doing it in the way that everyone else does it.
Perhaps, it’s because (whether male or female) we’re tearing other humans down instead of using our unique gifts and talents to bless them.
Yes, we will need to correct, and yes, feelings can and will get hurt as we deal with others, but we can still be kind. We can build a person up after the correction or disappointment. (See Doctrine and Covenants 121: 41-43 on the correct pattern for both how to maintain power and influence as well as how to correct) in fact, the promise is that doing this shall –
greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy and without guile – [.]
What a heaven on earth this world would be if we treated each person with the main goal of leaving them better than when we first met them!
An Example of Correction
I’ll give an example of correction. A while ago, a student was flustered and began to yell at his teacher. In a soft but firm voice, she told him that it was evident that there was some major emotion that he was feeling about the situation, but she wasn’t the one to cause those feelings. Then she assured him that she’d be happy to talk to him about it after he had some time to settle down those emotions.
After resolving the situation, she expressed the belief that they could come to areas of agreement and then pointed out some of the strengths that she had seen in his work to make sure that he knew that there were no hard feelings. She also wanted to ensure that the relationship could live and thrive well past that moment.
Perhaps one may think it’s silly, but I believe that we can practice and succeed in taking the anger and rudeness out of relationships.
Criticism versus Kindness – who are we training ourselves to be?
One way to start is to begin to train ourselves to be less critical of others. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Virtue of Kindness“, April 2005 stated,
The things you say, the tone of your voice, the anger or calm of your words—these things are noticed by your children and by others. They see and learn both the kind and the unkind things we say or do. Nothing exposes our true selves more than how we treat one another in the home.
I often wonder why some feel they must be critical of others. It gets in their blood, I suppose, and it becomes so natural they often don’t even think about it. They seem to criticize everyone—the way Sister Jones leads the music, the way Brother Smith teaches a lesson or plants his garden.
Even when we think we are doing no harm by our critical remarks, consequences often follow.
It is a marvelous talk with some very simple and yet profound principles. My favorite of which is –
Kindness is the essence of a celestial life. Kindness is how a Christlike person treats others.
Working to build others instead of tearing them down is a mark of greatness and is just one way in which women can truly find the nature of true spiritual power.