Here is a little mental image that may be helpful for those of you who have little dinks like I do. I like to think of them as a bunch of little racquetball players and I am the court. They throw things at my walls, or hit them, or otherwise propel them at me, and it is my job to absorb the shock. To take a bad attitude with a lot of spin and turn it into a quiet little ball rolling across the floor. Sometimes it seems like we can get caught up in the game – “you throw that backtalk at me, buster, and it’s gonna come back at you so fast you’re gonna needÂ protective eye gear” – just to take an example.
This thought is especially helpful for me when all four kiddos are cruising at once. Sometimes it is just a little crazy. I try to think about my own walls. How can I insulate these? How can I be one big muffle for all the fussiness? Can I change the subject? Could we go on a big explore to stomp on chestnuts? Could I just put away the dolls of discord and yell “time for a popcorn party!”
Of course the most important step in all this is to pray for grace and repent of any racquetball throwing of your own. But, as every busy mother knows, it’s not like you can just walk away from the great pb&j debacle to go have a quiet time. In my own experience it usually amounts toÂ a quick prayer of “Lord, help me absorb” while still in the midst of whatever it was that happened with the coffee grounds.
A very important part of this for me is that my job is not to contain the explosions, it is to end them. When our kids are having trouble fighting about something, we go change the subject. Of course we deal with any outstanding sin, but the attitude can be trickier. It is not about ignoring the sin,Â it is about renewing the fellowship.
When I think about my children growing up, I often think about the character that I want to be in their lives. When I have a teenage daughter who is worked up about some problem with a classmate and comes to talk to me, I want her to go away calm. I don’t want to jump on her for any traces of sin that I may see in her attitude, I want to help her abandon them.
So, there it is for what it’s worth, and maybe, just maybe, it will come to mind and help you the next time you find the kids playing in the crisco.