Friday, June 3, 2011

Anger Management

To look at her, you might think she's my mini-me. She looks so much like Mommy, and even more like pictures of Mommy as a young girl.

However, in some respects, our personalities couldn't be more different. I can summarize it like this:
  • Me: quiet, shy, a thinker rather than a talker, a planner rather than a doer
  • Wendy: a singing, dancing, yelling, running, talking Talking TALKING dynamo
The contrast is most evident in how we deal with our emotions. I tend to come across as being calm (despite the inner chaos of my emotional state sometimes). I rarely blow up, and when I do, it fizzles out almost immediately.

But when this girl gets mad? This sweet, charming, loveable princess of a 4 year old?

Oh my word.

The girl can throw a FIT. Stomping, screeching, yelling, hitting, throwing things...if allowed to go unchecked she might just be Tennessee's first case of spontaneous combustion. We have struggled with how to help her deal with her emotions; it's obvious that she is a person that feels things deeply, acutely, strongly. That is a good trait, one that we want to preserve and train - the world needs more passionate people! But how to prune the bad so that the good can grow?

In my desperation the other day, a Scripture came to mind. I had to look up the reference; it's Ephesians 4:26a:

In your anger, do not sin.

That's it. It doesn't get much simpler than that. Anger is a normal emotion - we even see evidence of God's righteous anger in many different situations in the Bible. Anger is a natural response that we will have to deal with all of our lives, and that is okay. That is not the problem. How we act when we are angry is what is important. And even a passionate, headstrong 4 year old can learn that lesson.

I have taught Wendy this verse, and now, just as I can tell she is in danger of spiraling out of control, we say it together. I get her attention and say, "In your anger...?" She (grudgingly) sighs and says, "...don't sin." It defuses the situation and gives us a chance to talk about things without going into the full-blown fury. It lets us connect and bond and learn from each other, and we've made a lot of progress just in the last few days.

And guess what? Correcting with scripture isn't a new idea!

I Timothy 3:16 : All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness...


Eco said...

Don't know if I'm repeating myself here but have you ever used any of Ginger Plowmann's books on discipline? They're all scripture based and in fact, she has a really cool little chart that lists out all sorts of ways our kids misbehave and then a corresponding scripture to see why God doesn't want us to act that way and a scripture of how we're supposed to act. It's awesome and has worked for us to diffuse our own ticking time bomb, as well as work on scripture memorization. The book is called "Don't Make Me Count to Three" and the chart is called "Wise Words for Moms." :-)

becky said...

Jeni I love this! You are a great mommy. Thanks for the biblical reminder!