Reaction Or Response – Parenting Helps

Reaction or Response?

The official day of summer is one of the longest days of sunlight, and in Texas, usually one of the hottest days because the sun is so strong and sunlight so long. What do we do? Usually respond with a dip in a cool swimming pool or a nice glass of iced soda and turn down the air conditioner.

The point is, we respond to the heat by finding places to be cool.

My Professor in Seminary gave us a story once of a family who responded like that I have described above. When one person in the family gets too hot, the others respond in kind by cooling off.

In other words we affect each other.

There was once a tale of a Father who encountered a very grumpy customer at work. No matter what the Father did the customer was hot tempered and difficult to please. His temper spilt over to the Father, who then in turn went home and spilled over on to his wife. His wife, the receptor of that temper, then blew over into the children, who then blew over onto the dog. The eventual end was that each person in the story was affected by that customer who was hot tempered.

We can find these situations each day very easily. So what do we do as parents to stop the overflow from happening unto us, our family, and our children?

Well, the poor customer was the chaos. He was the “hot” on the thermometer. The Father reacted and kicked up the heat, which then spilled over to the wife who reacted to the children and then to the unsuspecting dog.

The point is, we may not always have a choice who spills over on to us, but we have a choice on our reactions. Reactions are fast. They are like those of flight, frights, or fights. But, there is another choice. It is a response. A response is slower, thought out, self-controlled, control of the tongue and body language. A response doesn’t allow for spillage. It takes into consideration the situation, the person, and the environment of that moment. It takes self-control, which isn’t a topic of popularity in today’s subjects.

So where do we begin to become more self-controlled?

  1. Pray about it and ask for the Holy Spirit to help you in such situations.
  2. Read the Bible and spend time alone with God. He can refocus you in all areas of challenges and life.
  3. Seek professional help with a Christian counselor if you need some guidance with management of your reactions. Anger issues can challenge self-control.
  4. Stop! Stop your natural tendency to react. Stop talking, stop anger, stop and slow down the moment. You can do this by asking the other person, “Are you okay”? “What can I do to help”?

You are the possibility of change. The old saying, “The buck stops here” is true. Be the one that stops the spillage and choose your response and avoid the reactions.

“A Gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. Proverbs 15:1

Praying for you!
Linda Drake