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“Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” (Proverbs 21:19 NIV)

A nag is someone who annoys or irritates (a person) with persistent fault-finding or continuous urging.  We all nag others to some extent, whether we realize it or not.

Mom’s nag their children to brush their teeth, make their bed, clean their rooms.  Wives nag husbands to fix the leaky toilet, pick up their dirty clothes, take off their muddy shoes. Husbands nag their wives about cleaning the house, cooking meals and whatever else annoys them.   Friends nag friends to break up with the boyfriend, or make up with the boyfriend or not have a boyfriend.  Nagging is a no win situation for all concerned.

No one wants to live with a nag.

As a tennis coach, I nag a lot.  “Racquet back.”  “Get those feet moving.” “Finish that stroke.’  The phrases I use are the same.  Tennis requires the same simple actions over and over again. The more repeated the motion, the better the player.  They tire of hearing me say the same thing over and over. Eventually, I don’t have to say it anymore, they begin to tell me.  I tire of saying it, they tire of hearing it.

No one enjoys nagging.  Nagging is a form of unmet expectations.  We set an expectation for someone.  They don’t do it.  Until it’s done, we nag.  Or is there a better way?

Recently, I’ve stopped nagging on the tennis court.  Instead, I’ve learned new drills.  Not only do they learn to move their feet, but they have fun while doing it.  Without realizing it, they’ve done what I wanted them to do all along.  The kids respond better to fun games, than repeated nagging.  

“The Karate Kid” is a 1984 movie about martial arts.  Mr. Miyagi is the wise teacher to his young protege.  Before he allows his student to set foot on the mat, he has him do a series of chores. The tasks help develop the muscle memory the student needs to successfully compete in martial arts.  In other words, Miyagied: he learned the skills necessary without realizing he was learning.

Instead of nagging, Miyagi.

Find another way.  Every student I have requires a different approach.  The first thing I have to do is learn how to communicate with them.  What motivates them?  What doesn’t?  Some kids need verbal praise.  Some kids need to understand the mechanics of the stroke.  Some kids need visual cues.  Once I understand how to communicate with them in a way they will receive, they begin to learn.  Instead of nagging, I’m teaching.

Learning opportunities happen everyday.  If we learn to capitalize on them, we’ll nag less.  Reduced nagging equals more peace. Nag less, teach more.

Question of the Day:

Who do you need to find another way to communicate with today?

Further Reading: Esther 1-3 NIV, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 NIV, Psalm 35:17-28 NIV, Proverbs 21:19-20 NIV

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