I Statements

I Statements

Whether you have young kids, grown kids, or no kids at all, you’re probably familiar with this scenario: Let's say Child A, whom we'll call Joseph, runs up crying, claiming his sister, whom we'll call Violet, hit him. "She hit me!" he yells. Back comes Violet’s retort, "Yeah, but he called me booger face!" followed by, "Because she stole my scooter!"

You’ll notice each child is entirely focused on the other's actions. It's a constant back-and-forth of "He did this" and "She did that."

I once picked up a useful tip from a parenting book: In such situations, ask each child to describe the event using only "I statements." They should focus on their own actions—"I did this," "I did that"—and not attribute actions to the other.

There's a profound piece of wisdom here that we can apply to our prayer life, especially when making a daily examination.

  1. God Statements: Start by acknowledging what God did today. There’s so much He actively does in our lives, many blessings to recount. Even actions we credit to ourselves, like responding with virtue, are often His work within us. These reflections are perfect for prayers of gratitude.

  2. I Statements: Like Joseph and Violet, focus on what you did today. The "I statements" often reveal where we fell short or didn't respond to God as we should have. Even when we do manage to respond with grace and virtue, remember, it’s often God working through us (refer back to God Statements).

  3. Other Statements: Consider the significant people in your life—your spouse, children, coworkers. Choose one or a few and think about what they need: "My wife needs ____." Let this reflection guide your actions for the next day, turning it into a resolution to support them in their needs.

There’s no wrong way to do this. If any of these approaches resonate with you, I encourage you to try them in your prayer. They can help clarify everyone’s role in your daily interactions and deepen your relationship with God through thoughtful reflection.

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