On my refrigerator we have two sticker charts. (I love stickers. They motivate me.)
One is for Mr. Me-Too.
They are our Caught-Ya! Charts.
Formerly they were known as our Fruits of the Spirit Sticker Charts. Though a good name, it wasn’t an enticing name. The charts represent the same thing–godly behavior. The Fruits of the Spirit, as described in the Bible, are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.
When the boys show a “fruit,” I say in a sly and often loud way, “Caught ya!” Off they run, giggling the whole way to the kitchen, to put a sticker on their chart. When the chart gets filled they get to pull out a reward from The Can, given to us by my sister. Inside the can are different fun rewards: bake cookies with Mom, date night with Dad, watch a video, have a bubble bath, pizza night, popcorn and a movie, etc.
Many might argue with me that this extrinsic reward is teaching my children to only act good to receive a reward. There are times they do act in true Caught Ya fashion and expect nothing in return. And there are other times that they are a bit ugly and un-Caught Ya-like. Don’t get me wrong–I love them and they do get a lot of Caught Ya stickers, but there are other times I would like to rip their charts up. And that is when I display a lack of Caught Ya behavior, namely self-control.
I’m sure that none of you have ever screamed at your children. Not! I’m not really sure where I developed my ability to let loose my fury on my children, but I know that sadly, my children have been the avenue through which I raise my voice. Afterward, I feel like crud. I am learning to avoid loading ammunition into the barrel of my mouth.
I have to discover what triggers my hostile reaction.
For example, I find that I am more likely to get angry at my children
- when we need to leave the house and I am scrambling to gather necessary items together to get out of the door
- when I rapidly encourage them to move quicker and it only makes them move slower
- when I am hungry
- when I am tired
- when I feel pulled in several different directions
- when my children remind me of someone who has hurt me or I don’t like
- when I am feeling guilty
- when I view them as an interruption to my agenda or plans
- when I feel that I deserve some “Me-Time.”
I have come to realize that I need to recognize these triggers. I also have realized that I have a choice in how I react. I can respond and use the situation as a teachable moment. I can ask (beg) God to give me self-control and eyes to see the skirmish more clearly.
As I delve deeper into figuring out what ticks me off, I have come across some steps to help me dig deeper into my heart. Now, I can’t take all of the credit. They come from a great book called, When You Feel Like Screaming–Help For Frustrated Moms by Pat Holt and Grace Ketterman.
- Identify clearly whatever feeling you are experiencing.
- Determine why you feel that way.
- Decide what you will do to correct the problem and erase the emotion.
- Follow through with the action.
Next time you are tempted to scream, walk away. Take 10 seconds before you respond, NOT react. Pray. Allow yourself to really see what has made you upset–chances are it may have nothing to do with your child.