My good friend, Andie, lent me a book (that I lent out to another friend) that really has changed the way I parent. I knew I had a problem and needed to get some practical help as well as deal with the root issues of my problem. Well, Julie Barnhill’s book came along at the right time and was exactly what I needed to hear and act on.
I love to read, and Julie Barnhill is a very funny gal whose books are quick, easy reads, but that was not the case for this book. This book had its funny parts and is a quick read, but she has stopping points throughout the book with questions to ponder and action points. I usually just read these types of questions and answer in my head since writing answers requires so much effort. However, I knew that I really needed to process these things and to have accountability to make changes, so I wrote down my answers to all of the questions. I was easily able to see where I struggled and what changes I needed to make.
The gist of it is that anger has its place and is a good response when things are not as they should be – injustice and evil – and as long as anger motivates us to act in love and bring about good changes then it is not a problem. For most people I know, myself included, that is not usually the case when I lose my temper. I am angry at my kids for not living up to my expectations or at myself for making poor choices and then am impatient and unkind toward those around me not out of love to make them better, but just because I’m immature and would rather throw a fit. In my angry outbursts with my kids, there are times that the anger is properly motivated, but my outburst is not loving or effective in bringing about the change that is desired. So, the way to change is through prayer and focusing on the truth and love of God, along with some very simple techniques like counting to ten or taking a deep breath before I speak, taking time outs myself when I feel my body heat rising and jaw clenching.