3 Things Bedtime Taught Me About My Anger
Have you ever wondered how many different ways you can tell a 7-year-old and two 5-year-olds “no” and to “stay in the bed”?
I’ve often wondered if there is something about the combination of bed clothes and bed sheets that makes kids thirsty. It’s as if at the moment that those two fabrics meet, all fluids obtained throughout the day are instantaneously drained from their tiny frames and dehydration sets in!
Typically in my home, the one-sided bedtime conversation goes as follows:
“Mommy, I’m thirsty!”
“Mommy, me too!”
“Can we please have some juice?”
Followed by desperate sobbing and screeching…the screeching would be me!
On one particular evening this went on and on for about 30 minutes. As you can probably imagine, I became totally frustrated and, in all honesty, I lost control. I marched into their rooms to put an end to the nonsense once and for all.
The only problem is that when I opened my mouth this is what came out:
“Girls, that is enough! You are not getting anything else to drink tonight! Now keep your BED IN YOUR BUTTS!!!”
Bed in your butts, huh?
Needless to say this opened the door for a giggle-fest.
I stood in the middle of their floor, totally worked up and watched as they laughed…at me. I soon realized bedtime would now be further delayed, so after a few deep breaths I had no choice but to join the laughter.
My anger did not solve the problem, instead it made me look silly!
That night I realized the truth that reigns in Proverbs 29:11 (NIV):
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.
My anger certainly made a fool out of me on that particular evening!
My family and I often think back on that evening and chuckle. But even more than that, that bedtime blunder serves to remind me of these three points when it comes to keeping my anger in check:
1. Losing control and getting angry does not make anything right.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)
2. Responding out of anger does not teach my children how to deal with their own anger.
“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:8, 12-13)
3. My children’s disobedience does not justify my own.
“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” (Proverbs 15:18)
God’s Word is clear on how we (even as frustrated parents) are supposed to handle anger. I cannot say that I always get it right. But I do know that keeping God’s Word at the forefront of my mind helps to remind me that my children are watching and learning! I am their example and my feelings cannot trump God’s Word.