Tuesday, December 12, 2006

IOW---What's the Temperature?


"I am the one holding the keys to the atmosphere in our home."
~ Terry Maxwell ~
Author of:
Homeschooling with a Meek
and Quiet Spirit


I grew up in a home where my Mom did not hold the keys to the atmosphere well. As a teen I can remember my Dad coming through the door asking "What's the temperature today?" My Mom had three states---cold and withdrawn to her room, able to get along, or hot and raging. Often, too often, it was raging. I determined from an early age that was not going to be the atmosphere in my adult home.

But if I'm honest, it is a struggle. I have inherited much of my Mom's temperament and the rest I learned from years watching her. For her withdrawal was because of depression. For me, I will want to withdraw because I am an introvert living in a household of extroverts--I get tired from being around people. And, if I'm not careful in how I cope with frustration the learned behavior of raging can take over. That is something I do not want my children to experience. So I must be aware of my internal state and control it.

Whether we call it holding the keys as Terry Maxwell does, or controlling the thermostat as we say in my house, it is an important role for us as mothers. Not only does it determine how easy our personal day goes, but it sets the stage for what our children will remember about our home. I've found that the most important way I set the thermostat for my home is to get up before the girls and spend some time alone. This gives me a chance to recharge my introvert batteries. It allows me to spend time with God in prayer, Scripture and in the Godly blogs I read that encourage me in my walk. If my day is set right, then it is easier to cope with the challenges of the day. The second way I set the thermostat is in how I greet the girls as I get them out of bed. If I emphasize what a great morning it is, then it is a great morning. The third thing I do is turn on the praise music (or at this time of year Christmas music). If I'm hearing positive messages, it is easier for me to give positive messages. Even when I am not consciously listening to the music, it is helping to set the tone in the house.

Paul reminds us,
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9

If I, as a mother, am thinking on true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable things then I should be acting in a true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable way. That is what my children will then learn and be able to put into practice. Setting the thermostat to Godliness and allowing God to shine in my home. That is one of my roles. I pray that I am able to do it to God's glory.

This week's CWO, In Other Words, is being hosted at Fruit in Season. Please join us there to read others' takes on this quote. Bless you today!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh how well I know that mother (the raging one)...all of what you wrote could have been written by me, but you said it so much better. This is why I have to always be vigilant...my mother's thermostat could turn on a dime...and I have been left that legacy through her modeling...but I have the promises of God to help me and the necessary quiet time in the morning!!! Thank you so much..it always help to know one is not alone in the ghosts that haunt them.

Heather said...

You know, my husband struggles with this as well. His mother is bi-polar and he is an introvert. He works at home and has a very, very extroverted eldest daughter who longs to spend every waking moment with him. We have found that him waking at 4:00 is the best and easiest way for him to have time alone before the kids are up and wanting to be with him. It makes all the difference but it is always a struggle to maintain it. I am a little more able socially to manage, though only mildly.

Ame said...

you are a very wise and beautiful mother ;) i need to learn from you!

Gina said...

I see myself in you and though your upbringing! :) Thanks for the practical ways to help start my day right!

Anonymous said...

I love that you quoted Phil. That's one of my very favorite passages. When my thoughts are on things above, I act accordingly. All too often, though, I forget and get caught up in the earthly to-dos and annoyances of everyday life. Thanks so much for sharing your take on this!

lrlwreath said...

"If my day is set right, then it is easier to cope with the challenges of the day" This is so true for me!! I notice a big difference when I do not set it right, it seems everything goes wrong. And it all begins with a wrong attitude.

Great post.

Lynn Donovan said...

If I emphasize what a great morning it is, then it is a great morning. -- This is so true for me. I love this post. It is transparent, authentic and helpful. Blessed me today. Thank you. Lynn

Anonymous said...

So so true! Great post. Did I tell you that the Maxwells were the speakers at our homeschooling convention in February?

eph2810 said...

Miriam - thank you so much for sharing your words of wisdom. You are right. If I don't start with a positive attitude (i.e. spending time with my Lord), that the day is not starting on a good note. I try my best to start it with Him...

Anonymous said...

sounds like you lived in my house! Thanks for sharing. It really is very helpful.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Your words really spoke to me. Thanks, my dear friend. I am off to start the day the right way!

((hugs))

Anonymous said...

It's so true! I've seen those silly painted signs that say things like, "If Momma Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy" and I never really thought about it quite that way before.

Wendell said...

How wonderful for Jewel and Flower to have a Mum who controls the temperature in their home.