When I recently ordered the Maxwell’s scheduling book (Managers of Their Homes), I noticed another book on their website. Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, by Teri Maxwell. No thanks, I thought. You see, I’m planning on homeschooling three days a week with an angry and resentful spirit. Who wants to be meek and quiet? Doesn’t sound like it would serve my interests all that well. It was about at that point in the train of thought that I realized I must immediately click “Add to Cart.” And I’m really glad I did.
I would definitely recommend this book to any homeschooling mother OR any mom who struggles with keeping her sanity, let alone a meek and quiet spirit, during long days at home with preschoolers. I’ve learned so much already from this book, and I haven’t even gotten to Chapter 6: Hard Work and Dying to Self. I know that one is going to hurt tomorrow morning and will probably result in the post, A Meek and Quiet Spirit, Part 2 (why I changed my mind about this book). Ha ha!
I have learned so much from her discussion of “meek and quiet spirit robbers” such as fear and worry, disorganization, and anger. I have been reminded several times by this book that my children are watching the way I deal with worries and how I control (or fail to control) my anger and frustration. All of my teaching on self-control won’t do any good if I don’t exhibit it myself!
In her chapter on Anger, Maxwell writes about having high goals and low expectations for our kids. Low expectations should not be confused with permissiveness. But she points out that our children are just that–children. They are in the process of learning how to be godly adults (we hope), but they are still learning. So while we have lofty goals for our children’s obedience, kindness to others, self-control, responsibility, etc., we must understand that they are going to fall short of those goals. Our expectation is that they will disobey and require discipline from us. If I start my day knowing this, it will take away my shock that our son is yelling at his brother over a toy again and might help me keep my temper under control.
Maxwell also suggests having well-defined consequences mapped out for disobedience or irresponsibility. That way, there is no stress involved in figuring out how to handle disciplining a child. When the child disobeys, the consequence is given. That way, the consequence doesn’t depend on mom’s mood or how many times the infraction has occurred that afternoon, and everyone knows what to expect.
Maxwell also points out that anger is a choice. She gives the examples of not being as easily angered at church as we are at home, or yelling at our children until the phone rings and then answering the phone in a calm tone of voice. That was so convicting for me! It is a choice. And so often I choose poorly because I am trying to rely on my own strength. What I appreciate about this book is that it is not only giving me practical suggestions for how to deal with fear, disorganization and anger, but also reminding me that I will not do well at any of it if I am not relying on God’s grace and strength. His grace is sufficient!