Coffee Talk Thursday
Take some bad days, add enough of them together in a row, and discouragement will soon set in. At least it does for me. Once I hit the bottom of that downward slide, I just pull away. I didn't feel like blogging, or doing much else for that matter for the last few days. Except I did make time for journaling, reflecting, and longer-than-usual Scripture reading (I don't think it helped that my Bible reading plan put me in the beginning chapters of Job; today I switched to Philippians, and that helped cheer my outlook).
What I learned can be summed up like this: I can't hold grudges. I don't really hold grudges against adults, but my children? The ugly truth is I can hold a good grudge against one or more of them for a full day. They misbehave in the morning (or the afternoon) or whenever, and I can deal with it calmly, but if the pattern of misbehavior continues (or if the behavior was particularly heinous), it's much harder for me to simply discipline them, talk about it, forgive them, and move on. I may think I have done all of those things, but I haven't. I carry the irritation, the disappointment, sometimes yes, the anger around with me all day. It makes for one bad day. For all of us.
When I am upset, I become more sullen. I withdraw, becoming more emotionally distant, especially from my kids. I think the patterns we are raised with are ever so hard to break, no matter how desperately we desire to not repeat the same mistakes.
Here are some questions I asked myself during the past few days:
- When we pray and ask God to change our spirits, how exactly does that happen? (I think God does His unseen work through the Holy Spirit, but we really have to try on our ends to discipline our thoughts and let Him help us change our attitudes)
- If I could turn back time, how would I have handled the situations that made me so upset differently? What can I learn from them? How can they be redemptive?
I think the bottom line for me is--
"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." (Proverbs 10:19)
After our mall fiasco, on the way home, I went on and on about the boy's behavior and why it was so wrong. I think I hurt their feelings beyond what was called for. I asked them later how they would have preferred I handled it, and both of my boys basically said I could have just said--"in a nice voice"--that what they did was wrong, here's why, and they would be disciplined when we got home. End of story. I could have done that. I should have done that. Dealt with it calmly, dropped the grudge, and moved on with the day, leaving that all behind us. Lessons learned, for all of us.
Now for a little humor...
Yesterday, when the hours from 3:00 until 5:00pm felt like they would drag on forever, I asked the boys if there was anything they wanted to do. They wanted to make cookies, so we tried to make our favorite cookie recipe. In between trying to keep everything straight as little hands wanted to dump in ingredients, and boys needed help in the bathroom, I forgot to add the oatmeal into the butterscotch oatmeal cookies. I didn't think the batter looked quite right as I was portioning it on the cookie sheets, but I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I wish the digital camera still worked to show you what the cookies looked like. They were terrible! Picture batter flattened all over a cookie sheet into a giant, thin, greasy mess, with a bag's worth of butterscotch chips poking out. I scraped them and dumped them (the boys managed to eat a few and were so happy that we made cookies, they never once complained about how messed up they were). What a waste of butter and chips, but I suppose it is healthier for us that way!
So how do you turn a bad day around? What lessons have you learned to get over it?
(linked to Small Steps)
(linked to Small Steps)