A few weeks ago, I was in a very minor fender bender. It happened in a convenience store parking lot. I was in a rush, having picked our youngest up from K4 with Grandpa in tow so that we could see Grandma that afternoon. My daughter asked for a Lunchable, and since I wanted the afternoon to go as well as possible, I said yes. I am not above it, people. We pulled into the convenience store and I was waiting for a parking spot to open up and someone back into our van. The man immediately jumped out of his truck and began cursing at me. I knew that any reaction I gave would only fuel him, so I just put my hands in my back pockets and waited for him to finish and calmly asked if he had his insurance information once he was done. It stopped him in his tracks and as soon as he came down from the heat of the moment, he was apologetic and agreeable.
This is what we refer to in our house as being a thermostat. We can either be a thermostat or a thermometer, setting the temperature or reacting to it. I tend to be a thermometer on school mornings, reacting to tired and grumpy kids instead of setting a more calming tone. When there’s a rough morning and I choose calm, there are high fives all around. In a home with three daughters, choosing to set a mood instead of react to it is essential. My head would be spinning (and has!) if I didn’t control my reactions. Every once in awhile, my husband needs to just glance at me in a moment and say, “Thermostat, honey.” I don’t always react well to that prompt because I, of course, usually feel justified in my anger. Ha! Bless his patient and loving heart.
This has been a simple and effective way for my husband and I to practice self-control and set a better tone in our home. What are some of the things you find helpful?