Lent Day #1: Prone to sin

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I was talking with one of my children last night and he/she was saying how he/she is good all day long at school and rarely gets his/her name on the board anymore.  He/she gets his/her work done on time and does not distract others.  This child was saying how difficult it is to come home and “keep being good.”  It is hard to follow the rules all day long, sit still, listen, and be kind to others and then come home without falling apart.

It made me think how much easier it is to sin at home.  It is easier to take my anger out on my husband or the kids at home versus places like the grocery store or church.  It is easier to complain at home in front of the captive audience of my family who I know will continue to love me versus friends who may come in and out of my life.  It is easier to harbor anger towards those I am close to and act like they owe me something instead of choosing to forgive and move on.

I am grateful for the Lenten season because I am reminded that I can’t earn my way into good standing by following all the rules of the Christian life.  We tell one another not to be so hard on ourselves and now wallow in our mistakes.  Yet we also need to ponder how EASY it is to sin.  In our more natural setting like home, it is our tendency to choose grumbling instead of gratefulness or resentment instead of forgiveness.

It is the season of Lent.  May our hearts be humbled.

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Sibling Rivalry

I love summer and having all three kids home all day long.

But I HATE the bickering.

It was bad yesterday.  We were not going to have a repeat today.  So when it started right before we were to leave to go the library, I made them go to their rooms for five minutes and come up with two ways they should talk to one another today.

This is what they came up with…ImageIt really worked.  We had a much better day today!

Happiness Project: Speak in the Positive

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One thing I wanted to focus on this month was speaking in the positive.  I do not want my conversations with my kids all day long to be “Don’t do that!” or “Stop it!”

Warning:  if you take on a project like this you will immediately be hit with all kinds of challenges and be tested in every which way.

The whole day of Saturday I tried this out.  It was a good day to practice as my husband was in meetings all day–I had the kids all day long and into the evening.  I did fail at times, but for the most part it was a good learning experience.  Here are three examples from each one of my kids.

My oldest was fighting in the van with the youngest as we were leaving for the oldest’s basketball game.  I told them it is difficult to concentrate on driving when there is screaming, kicking, and fighting.  I explained if they fought, I would stop the car and park in a safe place.  I informed my oldest that would mean she would miss the beginning of her basketball game, but that would be the consequence of her choice.  Thankfully it was a pleasant ride to the game.

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My son is naturally loud (gee, I wonder where he got that from) and was imitating the buzzer in the basketball game and making extra noise while we were having lunch at Subway.  I looked at him and said calmly and matter-of-fact “Use your indoor voice.”

My youngest (who is more strong willed than the other two) did not want to get off the basketball court because she wanted to play.  The team was starting to prepare for the second half.  I asked her to get off the court and she didn’t budge.  I told her she had to come sit down for the game.  She refused.  I told her I was going to count to three.  I made it to three and I walked out with her.  I told her she had a choice between sitting with me and watching the game or sitting at a table outside the gym.  She apologized and said she would sit and watch the game.

I discovered that when I speak more in the positive, I am calmer.  When I am calmer, I enjoy the kids more.  When I enjoy them more, we laugh together.  I crave my time with them.  I don’t feel like retreating.

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We need to tell our kids what specifically we want them to do.  Often I resort to “Knock it off” or “Shape up.”  Do they know what that means?  Do I even know what that means!?

We have had our share of meltdowns the past two days. Dealing with meltdowns can be tricky. We need to figure out the root of why it occurred.  Too tired?  Too close to a meal?  Upset about something that happened earlier?  Not feeling well? It is VERY hard to remain calm during meltdowns, but like I said God has given me practice the last few days.  That is the only way we can improve–through opportunities to practice.