By Grace Alone

The real life struggles of a Christian mom

A Meek and Quiet Spirit, Part 1 June 9, 2008

Filed under: parenting,spiritual growth — Marissa Henley @ 8:45 pm
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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!

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2 Responses to “A Meek and Quiet Spirit, Part 1”

  1. I am about to post on the books I am reading on heart based discipline but the book that is changing my life right now is called Good and Angry by Scott Turansky. I think you would like it.

    You can also get emails from his ministry http://www.biblicalparenting.org/ that are so good. Like here is one I just got:

    June 9, 2008

    Teaching Children About Anger

    Anger is a common problem in family life, especially among siblings. Although it’s very frustrating for parents, a wise mom or dad can use anger episodes to teach kids some valuable lessons about anger control and dealing with emotions.

    First, empathize with your child about the offense. “I can see why you’re upset. That makes sense.”

    Second, if the offender was wrong, acknowledge that fact. “Your brother was wrong to continue to tease you after you asked him to stop, but that doesn’t mean you can be mean to him.”

    This kind of statement is helpful because children often feel that their anger is justified when the other person is wrong. By agreeing that the other person is wrong, but still correcting for the angry response, the parent shows that a wrong action doesn’t justify unkindness in return. Children need to understand that even if the other person is wrong, their own response is very important.

    Third, talk about alternative responses. Children need to learn that sometimes they should confront and other times they should let the offense go. Romans 12:18 is a great verse for children caught in relational problems, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

    You can’t always change the other person, but you can control your response. God gave us anger and other emotions to help us sense things about life. Those who save up anger out of self-protection, however, are making a mistake. By teaching children how to respond to offenses, you’ll equip them with tremendous skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.

    For more ideas about emotions, consider the book Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

  2. Lynette Says:

    Since I’m studying “Blessed are the meek” this week, I thought I’d share some tidbits from the D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones book on the Sermon on the Mount.
    “Meekness is essentially a true view of oneself, expressing itself in attitude and conduct with respect to others.” The Beatitudes make a natural progression–when we are poor in spirit, we see ourself as a vile sinner (we mourn), and this leads to meekness.
    “We leave ourselves and our cause, and our rights and everything with God, with a quietness in spirit and in mind and heart.”
    He goes on to explain that while in some sense “inherit the earth” is future to us, in some ways it is already here.
    “A man who is truly meek is a man who is always satisfied, he is a man who is already content.”

    In an earlier post, you wrote about how studying Matthew helped you be a better mom. I’m studying the Beatitudes this summer as I teach them to the kids. It is said that the best way to learn something is to teach it, and God really has some lessons for me as a wife and mom.

    I try and fail and try and fail to be patient with my kids and not to yell and to mete out discipline in a fair and consistent way. I’ve been reminded this week: “But ‘blessed are the meek’, not those who trust to their own organizing, not those who trust to their own powers and abilities and their own institutions. Rather it is the reverse of that.” I will try and fail over and over on my own strength. I’ve got to realize moment by moment that it is only by submitting my strength to God’s control that I will ever be consistent.

    When my first child was born, I was happy to quit work and be a stay-at-home mom. I thought I didn’t have any problems with giving up my “rights” and staying home with my kids. Well, here I am 5 years later. I get mad at my kids when they bother me because I have the “right” to be on the computer or to get 30 more minutes of sleep or to eat that piece of cake without anyone begging me for a bite. I’ve found I am fairly content with material things, but I am forever wishing for more time to myself. I’m still learning to die to self and to be satisfied with what God has given me–a wonderful Godly husband and two lovely children.

    I’ll close this too long comment with one last quote:
    [Meekness] “is a character that is produced in us by the Spirit. It is the direct fruit of the Spirit.”


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