|Photo from Sound Doctrine Ministries|
March 11, 2013
The fallout of my battle with anger is obvious. Immediately, it leaves a path of destruction and tears. In the long term it has left something more harmful.
I have children who look to me (and my husband) to see how they should behave. And I have not been a good example!
How can I tell my daughter not to act out physically when she’s upset? How can I tell my son not to yell and boss everyone about when he’s upset? How can I tell my toddler not to throw a hissy-fit when she doesn’t get her own way?
THE ANSWER IS I CAN’T! I’m a hypocrite and they know it. Do As I Say And Not As I Do has never worked in the history of mankind. I now have three little mirror images of Mommy and it ain’t pretty.
The other day I was correcting my son for pointing out a flaw in my daughter’s character. A sin really. I called him to the kitchen and quoted Matthew 7:3 :
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
Now that was a real pot calling the kettle black moment. He was trying to chastise her for something he does quite regularly. But I realized so was I. Here I was trying to tell my children that anger is a sin and they needed to weed it out. But I wasn’t following my own advice. Instead I was justifying it. ‘If they would only listen’, ‘If I didn’t have to repeat myself’, ‘If they would…..’ The excuses just went on and on.
“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” – James 1:20
How could I expect the righteous of God to fill my children’s lives when the wrath of Mommy kept exploding on the scene?
So what to do with myself and my mini-mes? I knew from working through the Mommy Anger Management booklet what my physical manifestations were, but were they the same for my children? Yep! I see the fists clenching. I hear the teeth gritting and the deep breath in through the nose. And I recognize them all too well.
Now that I know they have the same manifestations, how do I help them get rid of them? As I work at undoing all the physical manifestations of my anger I feel able to undo all theirs. Now every time I see a fist clench, I open it. Every time I hear teeth gritting, I kiss their little face. Each time they hold their breath or start taking deep breaths through the nose, I tickle them.
To be perfectly honest, maybe not each and every time. After all, I am still working out my own issues. But I can tell you one thing, since actively working to diffuse the situation instead of participating in its escalation; our days have been ones of relative peace and joy.
Do we have a long road ahead? You betcha! Every day I see progress; but, I see setbacks too. It’s like doing the two-step (you know, two steps forward – one step back). It’s slow going but by God’s grace we will get there. And when we do I believe not only will I have the hearts of my children again, but so will God.
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” - Ephesians 6:4
That goes for Moms too.