8:04 AMHeather

I'm sure every one of you have Mommyisms that your mom quoted to you so many times that you thought you'd scream if you heard it one more time. You know--the infamous, "Because I said so," or how about, "if so-and-so jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?" I've made it my life goal to add to that list with creative twists for my own children. Some of my classic lines include "Well, I am not so-and-so's mom, I'm your mom so that's my rule for you." Then there's "disobedience brings discipline, obedience brings blessing." And, these days, I seem to find myself saying, "choose to respond instead of reacting."

When sibling rivalry rears its ugly head, I see my kids reacting to each other instead of thoughtfully responding to find a solution. And, as I've prayerfully considered being more intentional, a very humbling revelation has struck me. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I believe this issue falls under the category of being the person I want my children to be.

Like an out of body experience, I've seen myself reacting to the kids instead of responding. I've realized this typically happens when I'm in the middle of something and get interrupted. Or when I'm tired or hungry. I've tried to pay more attention to my triggers. And stopping to take a deep breath or say a quick prayer doesn't hurt either. Neither does remembering that calmly responding with some problem solving approach or expression of concern completely deflates the tension. For instance, the other day one of my darlings had ignored repeated requests to stop making rude sounds. It was in the middle of another morning fire drill, trying to get the kids off to school. I was my usual non-morning-person self. Just as I was about to snap, I caught myself. I took a deep breath, and then told the offender that when he made those loud sounds, I felt stressed. I reminded him to choose obedience the first time, and please understand how his choices impacted others. He APOLOGIZED sincerely and stopped. IT WORKED!

INTENTIONAL challenge: One truth that God is repeatedly driving home to me these days is that I set the tone in my house. I can take the easy way and be lazy, rolling with my selfish nature and reacting to the children. Or, I can deliberately choose obedience and receive a blessing. I may even begin to belt out an Aretha-like rendition of, "R-E-S-P-O-N-D!" Today, will you pay more attention to the tone you set with your children?

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