Take last night.
I had class - my last final of the semester, by the way - so Bryan was alone with the kids. They'd been going at it since Zach got home from school, and Bryan decided to capture some of the craziness on video so they could watch themselves later. Luke was attacking Zach in the backyard with a (stale) loaf of bread. You read that right - a loaf of bread! Each time Luke would lunge at Zach with the loaf of bread, Zach would "defend" himself with a plastic baseball bat. There was shouting and crying... I'm sure the neighbors loved it.
No children were harmed in the making of this video, but boy did they feel bad later when they saw it!
After we put the kids to bed, we asked ourselves: "What on earth is going on that's caused this craziness?"
Could it be...
That Mom has been very busy studying for finals?
That Dad had to work through Mother's Day weekend, only to get laid-off five days later?
That, in the middle of finals, Mom also had a garage sale?
That Zach had "a week of stage fright" last week?
That Zach has been in pain?
That Zach saw the inside of a doctor's office and radiology labs three times in a week?
That Zach has had to change his diet dramatically...and constantly has to explain it?
That the school year is coming to an end, bringing sadness, excitement and nervousness?
I can see why my kids are out of sorts. It's time for our family to regroup and slow down - even if just for a family movie night, story time, or craft.
Bryan was so awesome this morning... He apologized to the kids for losing his cool last night and we explained that Mom and Dad are going to be more intentional about helping them resolve their disputes and deal with whatever emotions they are feeling. The children are responsible for their behavior, but there is room here for grace and understanding...and modeling how to appropriately deal with stress, illness, bad news, and over scheduling. I can assure you that they have never seen Bryan hit me with a loaf of bread or a baseball bat...but they have certainly heard raised voices in this house. We are rethinking our discipline.
I'm grateful this morning for do-overs. Today Bryan and I are more aware of our thoughts, feelings and emotions, and we will be mindful of those of our children. They take their cues from us.
"Now it's up to you. Be on your toes—both for yourselves and your congregation of sheep. The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people—God's people they are—to guard and protect them. God himself thought they were worth dying for. " Acts 20:28
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6