Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Don't React - Appropriately Respond!
1 Cor 9:25 "And every man that strives to succeed is temperate in all things"
I was into the Doctor's office not too long ago getting a routine check-up. The nurse was checking my reflexes. You've probably had that done. They hit you around the knee with that little hammer and your leg jerks. She hit me with the hammer and my leg jumped. That's what a reflex will do. It will respond without any thought from me. Do you ever react to things? A reaction is very much the same as a reflex. Something happens and you react without thinking. I was near a pool some time back and I saw a mother quickly jump into a pool with her clothes on. Her toddler had gone under. That was a good reaction. She pulled her child up immediately and the child was fine. Sometimes reactions are good. Sometimes they aren't.
There are times we react to situations rather than respond to them. We react too quickly without thinking and do or say the wrong thing. That was an area that I needed to learn to get under control quickly when my children were young. If they were disobedient after I had given them warnings, the temptation to react in anger instead of responding appropriately was my temptation. At that point in my life I had not matured in the management of my emotions that could have opened the door for trouble. Of course I never wanted to deal with my children in anger. That's where shaking, inappropriate yelling or screaming, or wrongful spanking out of anger can happen – much to later felt regret. To avoid these kinds of displays of intemperance, Renee and I together developed a strategies for times like this.
We wanted to teach our children the rewards for obedience and the consequences for disobedience. We did now want our children to be like so many children we see today -children out of control. If I have a pet peeve in my life today, its parents that don't parent their children and let them slowly spiral out of control. Too often I sit in a restaurant with Renee or someone for fellowship and have the time destroyed by children screaming or running around the restaurant. The parents often are oblivious to this or think, "Aren’t they cute." Yes your kids are cute to you but they aren't in public places when they are screaming and running around. If we couldn't get our children under control in a restaurant we left. We did not feel it was right to ruin others people's time and expense at our children's cost.
Anyway, we worked toward developing strategies for disciplining our children so we would respond instead of reacting to wrong behavior. Time outs in a chair in the corner of the room worked in some situations but not always. They would sometimes get the end of a wooden spoon when they willfully and purposely disobeyed. We would always make clear what we wanted. We would then give them an additional clear warning so there was no misunderstanding. If they continued to defy us, they would get the spoon. We had it in a place in the kitchen where they could reach it. When it was time for a spanking, they had to go get it and meet me in the bedroom. That gave them time to think about what was to come while we cooled down so that we could respond appropriately. When they came in with the spoon, (and they did because they knew it was doubled if they didn't,) we would talk over the incident.
"Peter, do you know why you are in here?" "Yes dad." "Why are you in here?" "Because I hit Stephanie." "Did I warn you if you did that you would get a spanking?" "Yes but it was her fault..." "I realize that but did I warn you if you hit her you were going to get a spanking?" "Yes dad." "Did you hit her anyway?" "Yes dad." "Do you want me to be a good dad or a bad dad?" "A good dad." " The Bible says a good dad, helps their children love Jesus and grow up to behave. That means if I want to be a good dad, I have to discipline you when you don't obey." At that point, I put them over my knee and gave them a spanking that hurt but did not leave any bruise or break the skin. It was enough to cause them to remember and regret but not be inappropriate in any way. When that was finished and they were crying, I'd hold them. They would have to pray and ask God for forgiveness and then to ask me for forgiveness. I'd forgive them and tell them it was over and would not be brought up again. That was how God was with us. Heb 8:12 says, ”For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." I didn't either. I would never bring up a past offense again. We hugged and kissed and moved on with our day.
Having clear strategies helped us respond, not react leading to actions we’d regret! (Super Nanny is a show every parent should be forced to watch to learn strategies for success!) By the time our kids were five we hardly ever had to discipline them. They had learned warnings and consequence from an early age.
My wife Renee is an awesome balance and helper to me in helping me to think through responding and not reacting to situations.
Psa 37:7 says, "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret... refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it leads only to evil.” It's so important to keep from 'fretting.' The dictionary defines fretting as becoming vexed or troubled; worry. To be worn or eaten away; become corroded. Fretting is worrying which leads to overreaction in emotions which leads to inappropriate or evil behavior. We don't want to become worn or eaten away. It's critical that we look to the Lord and draw patience from Him on purpose. As today's Fresh Manna says, striving for temperance is a huge key to success. Refuse to fret. Don't let fret creep into your temperament. Instead seeks Gods help and trust Him for it. Develop strategies that protect you from reacting. Stay in control of the management of your emotions. It will help produce godly responses and a well-managed temperament that will support much success.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.