Thursday, January 11, 2007

I am responsible for my response

I laughed when I read Julie's and Elise's comments yesterday about not being morning persons. No, I won't call you a monkey - either of you!

Come to think of it, I'm not that much of a morning person, either. I require lots of sleep and need plenty of time to wake up.

Okay, then, for all those non-morning folks out there, I hereby give you permission to substitute this for the word "humor" in yesterday's post:

A great attitude.

I admit, grumpiness brings out the worst in me. But much as I have tried (I admit ashamedly!), I have never been able to scold, punish or threaten away the grumpies at our house. Being grumpy back has never worked, either.

Reminds me of one of my favorite verses:
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:9
I have been so angry with my kids' attitudes sometimes that my own angry response was worse than their original grumpiness! What on earth does that teach them?

We teach our kids this phrase (and I'm learning it along with them!):
You are responsible for your response.
This is usually followed by a short lecture about how there will always be obnoxious (mean, irritating, etc.) people in their lives, even as adults. There really is nothing you can do about that fact of life. You can't change it, and you are not responsible for it. So what are you responsible for? Your own response.

We are to do the right thing, even if the other person doesn't. Someone's annoying behavior does not give me the freedom to respond in kind. No matter what the "circumstances," God calls us to respond with...

Blessing.

When I respond to my child's irritating behavior, not with equally irritating behavior, but with a great attitude - with blessing - I inherit a blessing.

I believe it is a spiritual blessing. Yes, naturally my child will be less likely to lash out if I'm not over there yelling my head off. But choosing to "walk by faith" in this one area that is so difficult for me brings me something more: joy.

And we all know that the joy of the Lord is our strength.

I need that. Especially first thing in the morning.
Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love that "I am responsible for my response" - I am hoping you posted that so we can "steal" it!!! That would be wonderful for my little ones as we are working on that as well - SO IMPORTANT - I want them to learn that THEY are responsible - they can't blame anyone else and NO ONE else can choose their response for them! Thanks for sharing that.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man! "You are responsible for your response." That is excellent!

Mandy Klevenski said...

I'm going to print out this post and put it on my fridge to be a constant reminder. It is excellent and every member of our family would benefit from it! I love your blog and have been reading regularly for a few weeks ... in honor of de-lurking week I'm finally leaving a comment. :) Your blog lifts my spirits and nourishes with positivity and faith. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Katherine, so excellent! Friend, you have a way of writing just to me, I tell ya. You don't know how many times God has used you to speak into my life! I wish you lived closer so that we could coffee (or tea)over this stuff on a regular basis. I'm going to have to add this one post as bookmarked and reread it until it gets into my spirit!

Anonymous said...

There you go again, making me cry! I can't thank you enough for your timely post about grumpiness, and about responses. I am asking the Lord to fill me with His joy, and may it be my strength.
I could go on, but I have to run for now. Thank you for your down-to-earth humor and wisdom. I'll be back.

Qtpies7 said...

Ouch, conviction!
I tried the "is there a bear in your bed" with my 14yo today when he started growling at me for waking him for the 3rd time. He didn't find it funny at all. (I was very careful about searching under only the top blanket, as my post yesterday explains my son sleeps nekid) And my dh tried some humor and obnoxious behavior on our 17yo this morning, and my 17yo said he felt like hitting his dad over it. So, we'll have to dump the humor on grumpy teens. :-(

MicheleinNZ said...

My daughter and I have been learning Proverbs 15:1 this week "A soft answer turns away wrath." Although we chose this verse only because it starts with A, it has been very applicable this week! When she starts to get grumpy and i want to be grumpy in return, I can hear this verse in my head and I change my natural response to a more holy response and the results are generally much nicer.

Katherine@Raising Five said...

qtpies7 - I WAS referring to preschoolers in yesterday's post! I'm afraid my older children would require other, less cutesy, methods! Keeping a good attitude in spite of grumpy teens is a full-time job that requires an extra measure of grace. I'm asking for that daily around here lately!

Anonymous said...

Our mantra is "Make a choice". It seems to work really well with the 7 and 5-year-old. We explained along the same lines as you did - everyone around you may be making a choice to react badly, but you don't have to join in.
The almost 30-year-old (me) is having a harder time of it. Mostly because no one is reminding ME to make a choice. :)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. I always say "You can't control how others act, but you can control how you react". Like Eleanor Roosevelt said "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent"

Donna said...

We certainly all struggle with that here in this house! I'm thankful for your reminder of how to handle it with my children and I've written that verse (one that I've been "meaning" to look up) and will promptly stick it on the fridge for ALL of us to read when needed!
Blessings!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I have had the grumpies with my children this week. My three year old has a case of the whinnies, drives me crazy to say the least. Thank you. You are SOOOOO right, me responding grumpy does absolutly nothing to help the situation. And what kind of example have I set for him, and the two year old and the 8 month old?

Anonymous said...

My friend linked this and the related post to me, because of what I've told her about dealing with my preschool son. He's not grumpy in the morning, but has been deliberately challenging me day in and day out. I have been responding quickly in anger or frustration, rather than with blessing. I truly believe the Lord has touched my heart through this post. Thank you. God Bless.