There are days, let me just say it, days that I don’t want to be a mom (or I at least want to take a leave of absence). This never seems to be the case when my children are playing together kindly. Even if there are messes everywhere and dinner isn’t anywhere in the works, if my tribe is calm and happy those long days seem serene. But then there are days when the attitudes have taken a dive. I can be on top of my game in every other way but I feel like I have a big “parent fail” on my hands. To be honest, sometimes it’s even me with the sour expression. The atmosphere of our home can put us all in a state that we suffer from.
Time to take captive thoughts and attitudes! As much as I would like to run away from home and resign, as a mom, I just don’t have that option. So instead, it’s time to redirect. Sometimes I feel pretty well justified in my pout and I don’t even want to redirect my own attitude let alone lead my children in reclaiming theirs. I know the obligation is truly mine to set things right. They follow me after all. I am an influencer in my home. It’s so hard to do!
2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self discipline.” (NIV) Several versions use “sound mind” or “self control” in the place of the words “self discipline”. It’s a goal for myself and a goal I have for my children as they grow into adults, that they would have those characteristics and be one not without passion but one who is in control of that passion as the Spirit is within them.
Things don’t just happen, you have to make them happen! Time for a plan. It only took an index card, a marker and about 1 minute to turn my struggle for change into a plan. A simple (and incomplete) question. “Thankful for?” I scrawled the words on an index card and put it where I would see it a lot. We are in the van so much and you know how those last few minutes go before loading up when I’m herding my crew into the van? Yeah, that’s right. Let’s just consider it a beautiful opportunity to put into action this new habit I want to cultivate.
Every time we get into the van, there on the dashboard is a reminder. “What are you thankful for?” A reminder to take my thoughts captive and to train my children to do the same. Learning to be in control of one’s own thoughts and emotions is a huge life skill. So the training center is now a mobile one, pulling out of the driveway. No one is going to “get out of it” no matter what any one of us “feels like”. What are you thankful for? Speak it. Time to practice self control and reset.
The Results Are In
Since we have been practicing thankfulness with each outing, we have made progress. (Notice I didn’t say we no longer deal with stinky attitudes? We have made progress.) It took about 3 weeks for my five year old to extend his answer of what he is thankful for beyond “mama”. However, now that he has been hearing all of the things his siblings are thankful for, I think his list is the longest. I notice that my children are seeing things differently. They are able to take the former aggravations of the day and turn them to praise and thankfulness. What’s more, I have noticed that there is less squabbling in the home when we are regularly speaking about what we are thankful for.
What about you? Is it time to hit the “reset” button in your home? Grab a marker, a scrap of paper and make a statement to your family that “It doesn’t matter how you feel or what kind of a day you are having, we can be in control of our words, our thoughts and we can always be thankful. “.
Philippians 4:8. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things” NIV