It seems that as time passes by, the comical drama reaches another level here at the Clan. Whether it’s Isaac’s funny facial expressions – that probably would have made Jim Varney crack a smile – or Ava’s abrupt comments that can stop you in your tracks; the Twins keep ramping up their comedy level every day. I have said to my wife multiple times that we should put Isaac in commercials or something along the lines of ‘show biz’.
I watched him once drink the bottoms of a Starbucks vanilla latte. With one hand on his hip and the other holding the cup, peering through the coffee lid like Jack Sparrow looking for rum, he let out a sigh of disappointment at the lack of liquid for his pleasure. Another time I was tossing a rubber ball back and forth with him, and when he attempted to catch it, the ball struck him in the head and he collapsed to the floor like he had passed out.
The stories are endless for my little son, and I have one special story for you today. After that we will be talking about anger and the Biblical way of dealing with it. So pour up a coffee or tea and enjoy another post, from The Eason Clan!
“Look me in the eyes!”
It was a nap time like any other. Isaac’s voice was booming and the ceiling light in the living room was shaking from the stamping of his feet above. The toys were falling and morse code was being performed on the wall next to his bed.
Isaac was ‘going’ for a nap.
I say ‘going’ because trying to get him to go for a nap when he isn’t exhausted, is like me walking into a coffee shop without getting a coffee.
It ain’t going to happen.
Usually the routine is this: I take his toys from his room and hope that he falls asleep with Georgie (Curious George) by his side. This method leads to another problem though: once he has no distractions (toys, books, etc) he wants to have a ‘talk’ with you. Yes indeed, he needs to have a discussion in order to have a nap apparently…and this is how it unfolds.
Daddy’s Game Plan: Gather and Control
Purge the toys around his room. Gather up all Army Men, dinkies, dinosaurs, and blocks and inform Isaac what is going to happen next.
“Time to go for a nap, Isaac, ” I said.
“Where is Georgie?” he asked.
Closing the door, I ventured down stairs looking for good ol Georgie – eventually finding him thrown under the kitchen table. For such a wanted stuffed toy, some how Isaac conveniently forgets Georgie every time he goes for a nap. By accident? I think not.
I walked back up the stairs and as I entered his bedroom, Isaac let out a cry of delight at the finding of Georgie, hugging him and settling back down under his sheets.
“Have a good nap pal,” I said.
Chalk one up for Daddy.
Isaac’s Game Plan: Delay and Distract
Lying back in his bed, with the sheets up to his nose, Isaac turned his head towards the doorway and whispered quietly.
“Dad. Come here a second.”
“What do you want Isaac?”
“Come here ah’ second.”
“Why?” I ask again.
His smile dropped and a stern, serious face formed.
“I need to talk to you,” and with that he motioned with his pointer finger, beckoning me to come closer to his bed.
Awestruck by his determination and effort, I let out a sigh and approached his bedside. There he waiting for me, patiently waiting….as if he was watching my every move.
“Come down here, ” he said. “I need to talk to you for a second.”
With that he stood up in his bed – a little 3ft hobbit looking up at his 6 ft 1 father – and said,
“Come here. Look me in the eyes.”
Lord have mercy!
I squatted down, and looked right into his little round face, blue eyes, little nose and ruffled dirty blonde hair. He slowly reached up with both hands, cupped my face in his hands and whispered….
“Go down stairs and get my truck, okay?”
****WE HAVE A WINNER. ISAAC WINS***
Chalk one up for Isaac.
Learning To Reject Unhelpful Anger – The Biblical Way
As a father of four I am surrounded by four different personalities, temperaments, attitudes, feelings, wants, and desires. If you combine them all together you get a crazy collage of…parenting and possibly a headache.
Here are a few examples.
I ask one child not to do something (like jumping off a huge boulder up in the woods behind our house) than the youngest child decides to try it. Or when the children are supposed to clean their rooms, then one hour later their rooms looks worse than before. When you put your child on timeout or ground them from electronics (for those parents that still do that) and instead they turn around and look you in the face, “NO! I am NOT going to my room?”
How about the dreaded, “Why?” stage? You know, when it seems like every response to your straight forward request…for the whole day…is “Why?”
These things alone may not be that bad, but when combined together they can cause stress and frustration, especially when you are outnumbered by your children.
Can I get an amen?
When my wife and I are home together, I feel like The Vision and Melissa is the Scarlett Witch from Marvel: ultimate tag teaming partners and conquering together as a family.
When we are alone though, things can get pretty difficult – especially on the days when it seems like no one is listening. On those precarious days I find it increasingly difficult not to get angry.
You know the feeling where you tried all your normal parenting methods, and now no one is listening, children are screaming, and you just want to lose it!
I want to clarify something first: Not all anger is bad.
Anger is a totally natural physiological response to a situation. If someone picks on your child, it is natural for you to become angry at what happened. Another example being if I asked someone to take care of my home while I was away, and instead they partied and destroyed my living room- I would be angry! To say that anger is an entirely bad thing, would be rejecting one of the primary emotions we have and need.
The Bible has many scriptures about anger, however for today I will only be looking at three. The first one I will reference is found in 2 Kings 13 – when the people of Israel worshipped false gods and participated in child sacrificing to the false god Molech (this sadly was a ritual practiced by multiple pagan nations during this time period. As the nation of Israel drifted further from the Lord, those evil practices started happening there as well). The Bible says, “The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He gave them continually into the hand of Hazael, King of Aram.”
The Lord is Holy, and when the people of Israel took part in such horrible things, like child sacrifice, the Lord became angry and punished them by allowing an enemy nation to attack them with the goal of getting the people of Israel to repent and turn back to Him (which happened numerous times throughout the Bible). We see God using His anger to correct, and bring about change for the nation of Israel.
So that is one scripture about God becoming angry, but what does the Bible say to you and me about anger? One scripture is found in one of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church.
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”Ephesians 4:26 ESV
“Be angry and do not sin…” You can be angry, just don’t sin be the product of it. For instance, if one of my children directly disobeyed me and I became angry, screaming and shouting and starting to rage, this would be sinning (immoral). I would be letting myself go, harming them mentally, and stepping away from the loving role of being a father. Another example: If I was driving down the road and some guy cut me off and began tailgating me. If my reaction to his issues was to jam on my brakes, chase him and confront him in some parking lot, I believe that would be sinning as a bi-product of my anger.
The definition of sin is, “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.” Now depending upon what your definition of morality is, this will affect your interpretation of this definition.
But you see the point I am making, right? If I am angry and then do something wrong, ie. yelling insults at my wife or children, physical or mental abuse, all of these things are immoral (and illegal for some) and strongly condemned Biblically.
I can get angry about something, but the way I go about it is what matters.
I’ve been reading a few books from psychologists and councilors like Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. James Dobson and my perspective regarding anger has never been the same since. I realized that sometimes the way I was handling certain situations in my marriage and as a father needed to improve. I love the Bible verse that says,
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”James 1:19
“Say what! That sentence flies in the face of everything we hear today!?”
Can you imagine if we actually practiced that? Quick to listen. Slow to speak. Slow to get angry. That verse alone could be a blog post. How many marriages would be saved? How many domestics or family divisions would cease? Just imagine what our society would be like if our leaders put that in practice, as well as the people!
So today let us put that verse into practice. Let us be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. I have been improving with my own struggles, and I’ll admit, there is plenty of change needed. I know that if I get angry, instead of letting the anger control me and cause me to say or do something that I’d regret; I will take a moment, ask God for help, and let His wisdom and the power of the Bible come like a rushing wave…instead of rage.
I can be an overcomer.
YOU can be an overcomer.
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