Nitpicking. Isn't that a gross word? Picking nits out of hair is gross. I've done it many times as a school secretary. A child may look pleasant enough, until you start shuffling through her hair for lice (I'm not sure nits are the same thing as lice...but anway). Her hair may look clean, but from a closer view it stinks or is oily. She may even have weird bumps or moles on her head that cannot be seen unless the view is narrowed. I found that during and after inspecting a child's head I would feel slightly repulsed (good thing I'm not a nurse) and it took some time to shake the feeling.
Similarly, when I begin to nitpick at my husband or my children, it becomes difficult to step back and see them as a whole person. I narrow in to their most disgusting habits or even character flaws and once I see a "nit" I want to get it out. I tug and pull and pick, pick, pick. If I am successful, say at getting my daughter to stop putting her fingers in her mouth, I don't stop there. I want her to eat without dropping one crumb, speak correctly in every sentence, stand up straight, and, and, and...Or if I am narrowing in on my husband's flaws (well...I better not share his flaws with the whole world, but you get the idea). Once I narrow my focus on the negative aspects of those I love, it is hard to see them. I only see their nits.
I have been on the receiving end of nitpicking as well. It's not a nice place to be. It makes me feel nervous, jittery, hollow and worthless. I feel as if I can do nothing right and my self-esteem takes a nosedive. I do all I can to keep myself from turning into a blob of insecurity.
This is the last thing I want my child to feel (or my husband for that matter). These are the people I love the most. It is vital for me, as a parent, spouse and friend, to step back and take a broader view of those that I love. Just as I don't want to be analyzed for my every flaw, so I must not analyze others in that way.
As Jesus says in Luke 6:41-42:
"Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, 'Friend, let me take out the speck in you eye' when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye."