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My Bad Attitudes - Issue 314
September 13, 2013
Hi there! ....

Another full week passes by: I can say that we had a good week as far as learning/study goes. The kids seemed to respond to tighter boundaries and are picking up personal responsibility for their progress. Naomi had her drama club performance last night. She did very well and it was good to see her taking on a different type of character than she has done before. We are so thankful for the community drama group and the opportunities that they are giving Naomi and other kids in the community. Jessica is doing well in Uganda. This week she was away at a national park. The regular tricky and intermittent internet became non-existent, so we were 3-4 days without contact, but I was very okay with that. I have been surprised at my contentment with her being away. It is a good place for a mum to be!!

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My Bad Attitudes

It is very easy to consider our kids bad attitudes, and boy do we jump on them!! But reality is we all have attitude. The question is – do we jump on ourselves? Do we receive correction from those around us and are we committed to change? We would like to see those responses in our kids – we need to be showing the way. Growth isn’t just for kids and when they hit adult-hood all growth stops. Growth is an issue for life.

This morning I reflected on some of the bad attitudes I’ve had over the years:

  • Poor me – Life isn’t fair!! I remember this one hitting me when I had two kids on bottles and in nappies, and Pete would make it clear he wanted Sundays as a day of rest. A day of rest! I ranted!! Fine for you… I have bottles, nappies, get everyone to church and keep them quiet while we are there, and then feed everyone and clean up throughout the day! I can’t remember how much of my attitude I blurted out but I know what was in my heart. God spoke to my heart – he said: You have all week to manage your house, your time, your kids. The short of it was I needed to be responsible for making my own times of rest. And I did. I used the kids nap time for creative projects. As they grew older I trained them to have room time, giving me an hour a day to rest. How I spent that hour was also my responsibility. This isn’t to say that Peter didn’t give me times of rest or that he didn’t take the kids off at different times. (He was actually already doing that!) It was about my attitude.

  • If only – This little wistful statement is a contentment killer. Media all around us tells us of the good life. Movies portray perfect relationships (they also portray perfect wrecks, but we don’t always think of those). Magazines show pictures of perfect houses and perfect cakes. Blogs show perfect families. Pinterest shows perfect wardrobes, craft projects, kids parties, holidays… everything is there to feed our discontent. It is all there to make us compare, and then start doubting the decisions we’ve made. And yet, those images, they don’t reflect our experiences, our personalities, our family dynamics. Those images are devoid of our life! Yes, we may make mistakes, and we need to learn from them, but we also need to remind ourselves, that we made our decisions based on the information we had at the time. I remember feeling as if I was a bad parent because Joshua was still on the bottle at a certain age. If only I had weaned him…. But my mum reminded me of the circumstances that surrounded me at the time we started weaning, she reminded me of my efforts and the reason why it didn’t happen. I made the best decision I could at the time I needed to make it. These days I feel regretful for not getting out and about and enjoying God’s creation we live in – I could sit and stew over the lost opportunities, or I could make decisions today, based on where I am at today. Wistfully looking back at ‘if only’ is only going to restrict any growth for today.

  • It is their fault – this blame game is a great cop out for personal responsibility. Sure “they” (who ever that may be) may have stuffed up, may have let you down, or made a bad decision, but at no time do they become responsible for my response in that. Peter and I have a different understanding on Punctuality and this would mean that we are often late (by my definition) for church. He agreed in principal on the time we should arrive, and yet didn’t work towards that happening. So we’d be running late. I would be angry. Then it dawned on me – him being late was his responsibility, me being angry was mine! Separating the two issues helped me greatly and allowed me to talk to him about it because I wasn’t blaming him any more, I was instead dealing with my own stuff!

  • It is never going to change! This mind set is both negative and an exaggeration. Words like never and always are bad attitude words. These words create a sense of hopelessness, they remove any ability or likelihood for change, and if the situation involves another person it doesn’t believe the best of them. When we were living in a small house I would go through the ups and downs of coping. By keeping negative thinking at bay, and with my mum encouraging me to be proactive, we made little decisions to change things; each little change helped me cope in the situation we were in. Alternatively another friend would say “you simply can’t live like this!” Not helpful!! I have realised over the years that I can be dictated to by my circumstances or I can dictate to my circumstances. Though I am never sure about the ‘power of positive thinking’ in terms of the power of Christ in my life –I do know that Jesus is the source of all wisdom, and if I only ask, I know that he will give me creative answers regardless of the difficulty I am in.

These issues - victim mentality, discontent, blaming others, negativity and exaggeration, are only some of the stinkin’ thinkin’ that we can go through as we live our daily lives. We can also

  • doubt our own value, only see our faults and weaknesses, not accept how God made us
  • we can be an all or nothing person which devalues the little changes,
  • we can obsess on a little points and not see the big picture,
  • we don’t forgive ourselves (even though Jesus has forgiven us),
  • we allow ourselves to feel guilty for not being perfect or altogether, or further down the track, or…

Over the last few months I’ve dealt with my own stinkin’ thinkin’ and here are some of the scriptures that I have focused on. I share them, because they are the truly balm for a confused, tired soul. Jesus said: Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Where better to find Jesus, than in the Word of God:

Phil 4: 12, 13 ESV – I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Philipians 4: 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

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