I am sure you’ve never been out in public with young children and been embarrassed by their behavior. Never, not you. Not your kids. But just…
You know those days that are just harder than they could have been, or should have been, for no particular reason? They often start with too much to do and too little time to do it. Usually, those are the days your phone map decides to take you to the middle of nowhere (instead of the intended destination). A headache surfaces, exhaustion creeps in. Children tend to break down wayyyy too quick. This is about the time you have to cancel your anticipated lunch plans because you have discipline to administer. … Okay, maybe not every difficult day goes exactly like that. But that was a recent day of mine all before the clock struck noon.
So what is a mom to do when smoothness is just not the name of the game for the day?
We need to gain perspective.
How easy it is to get tunnel vision and focus on the horribleness of the day. Quite quickly self-pity takes over as we repeatedly recount the events of the day from start to finish (picture yourself saying, “first this happened…then this happened…now THIS is happening!”). BUT how bad is it really? Is everyone alive? Are they healthy (enough)? Do you have a family, a church, a car, food, a bed? The answer is likely yes, and yet there’s still so many more blessings to account for! Let’s not get wrapped up in some chaotic moments and forget that everything is really okay.
But these irritatingly un-smooth days provide more than an opportunity to maintain a good perspective. Bad days have potential to be redeemed and useful for training our children in a way the “smooth” day could not. Reason being, our children will also have days that don’t go as planned. They will face moments that feel out of control and completely stressful to their little souls. The best way for them to learn how they ought to react to their tough days is by watching how YOU choose to react to your tough days. Think of life as a classroom – you are the teacher, and your responses are teaching a lesson (whether you realize it or not). There is no better time than in the heat of the moment to show them that godly, patient, and self-controlled responses are possible, regardless of what is going on.
Think about it from a different angle. When things are going awry we easily give in to stressing out, getting frustrated (AKA angry), becoming impatient, complaining, and hanging on to our right to have a bad attitude. Sadly we simply give ourselves the freedom to indulge in one or more of these sinful responses (yes, I did just call them sinful). Then we end up wondering why our children struggle so much to respond right to their hard days. We have got to admit, they are learning from us.
If today is one of those days that the lesson you taught your kids is not a good one, it’s time to make it right. Start with confessing to God any wrong attitudes, thoughts or actions. Follow that confession with an apology to your children for any wrong reactions they were impacted by. This will go a long way in teaching your children a right response to sin, as well as undo the less-than-positive training you mistakingly accomplished earlier. Lastly, make a commitment to turn the next irritatingly un-smooth day into a perfect real life teaching opportunity.
Let us no longer get lost in the irritation of a “bad day” and instead, ask God to help us find the best ways to maximize the day and show our kids how they should respond to whatever comes their way with more patience, godliness, and self-control. Think of it as “Real Life Training 101” and you are the teacher.
Prayer 4 the Wanting-to-Vent Mom
Dear Lord, I thank you for all that you have given me. Even when almost everything doesn’t seem to go well, I realize that I have so much that I forget to be grateful for. Ultimately, even if far worse events occurred today, I would be okay because I am your child.
Help me keep perspective.
God help me to fight sinful tendencies when my day doesn’t go as planned. May I grow in pleasing you more as I face the challenging moments of daily life. Lord, help me to maximize these opportunities to teach my children the right response to stressful moments.