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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Frayed Nerves Homeschooling

You've had one of those days.  You know. THOSE days, when you are crabby, out of sorts, and have just *had* it, whatever it is.  You might keep yourself from throwing things or screaming, or you might not. Even if you do, if looks could kill, somebody would be in great danger of being transformed into a smoking grease spot on the floor just because of your laser eyes.

There are many causes, some within our control, some not so much. Maybe you have chronic pain. Maybe you're a chronic grouch. Maybe you're not getting enough sleep. Maybe you're worried sick about a dying friend or family member, a straying spouse, an unpaid mortgage, or paying off the electric bill this month- and it 'makes you' snappish, and you can't focus on teaching the kids essay writing today.

Except- it's not really the external causes that 'make' us do anything (I can't tell you how I hate to admit that). We all carry a bucket through life, and the only thing that spills out of it is what we had in it in the first place.

 We started filling our buckets when we were quite young, often too young to know what we were doing, and some of us filled our buckets with very little help from those who were supposed to help us most.

Here are some verses on Kindness and other 'opposite of rotten tempered' character traits, verses which you probably already know, and which, perhaps, are not always verses that make you feel buoyant, and uplifted, but rather, cast down, and burdened by your failures.  At least, I assume so because I hope you are not all so very different from me.  Used properly, these verses can help you fill your bucket with the right sorts of things.

Proverbs 31:26
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 2 Thess 3:13

add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 2 Peter 1:5-7

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9

but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses,in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love,  2 Corinthians 6:4, 6

These are also helpful:

Proverbs 24:16
 for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again,
but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Romans 8:38-39
 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 37: 8-11 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Proverbs 15:30
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart

Romans 5:8-10
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Zep 3:17
The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

These are just a few of the verses that may be helpful to you when you are in a foul temper. Print them out and tape them to your bathroom mirror, inside a kitchen cupboard, the computer...

But there's more to overcoming a bad mood than just reading Bible verses, isn't there? 

Here is something to help before the rotten temper causing days come:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith... Galatians 5:22

Notice that fruit there is singular, not plural. And notice that this is about the outcome of something- the fruit. The fruit of what?
  I do better when I remember that these qualities are outpourings of time spent at the feet of the Lord, receptive to the Holy Spirit, these are part of the 'fruit of the Spirit,' and fruit is the natural outcome of a well watered and fertilized plant.

Spend more time at the source, with the Master Gardener, and He tends to take care of the fruit.

Work on being cheerful no matter what- if it takes pretending to yourself all day long that somebody slipped a hidden camera into your kids' little shirt collars, than pretend that.  Learning the discipline to be cheerful in the small things can help you in the face of big things.

Developing a habit of not letting your mood or any external circumstances control you begins in small, seemingly insignificant battles with yourself over things as silly as whether your will smile and swallow the burnt toaste, the cool coffee, whether you will say something rude about the truck driver who cut you off or whether you will choose to smile and brush it off, whether you will say something sharp about the rubber stamps used on your living room furniture or whether you will count to 1,000 and then cheerfully ask your toddler when she's going to get a job and start paying for the replacement furniture.

Possibly some of the outside issues that contribute to the problems of bad temper can be removed- are you eating and sleeping right? Do you need to take medication, see a doctor, see a chiropractor, exercise more, get sugar out of your diet, go to the dentist? Self control is all very well and good, but as Shakespeare said, "there has never yet been a philosopher who could endure a toothache patiently, even though they all write as if they had risen above human suffering and misfortune."

But what if you woke up this morning the epitome of the yellow badge at the upper left of this post? What if you want to scream, "I have one nerve left, and you are STANDING on it in CLEATS?!"

Then you might apply this verse in the manner I will suggest:

 Ecclesiastes 9:11 also says:
Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.

Grab a bag of stale bread, crumbs, or crackers, head to the park and feed the ducks. If you don't have stale bread, go the day old bread store and buy some, or splurge and go through the drive-through and pick up some cheap burgers. This is an emergency.

Alternatives: Call a jammy day and everybody spends the day in pajamas reading and coloring.

Declare a Jane Austen Marathon and watch Jane Austen movies all day.

Go for a walk or a swim.

Clean a closet. I do my best closet cleaning when I am angry about something. 

You're a homeschooler, for heaven's sake. You don't have to do a 'regular' day of school on a day when you're not going to accomplish anything except to make everybody hate each other, life, and homeschooling. Take a field trip, take a three hour quiet time, call a friend and ask her to play hooky with you, make a run to the library to borrow a new movie or book on tape, go to a park, have a backyard picnic, have a picnic on the living room floor,  skip and go naked. 

That last one is meant metaphorically, of course.

Do something as different as possible from what you regularly do.  Have pancakes for supper and fried chicken for breakfast. Distract yourself from your bad mood and its causes as much as possible.

You don't want this to become a habit, so that the skip and go naked days outnumber the educational days, of course. That's the point of the first three fourths of this post.

But some days, it's just fine to cast your bread on the waters by heading to the pond to feed the ducks.


  1. Thank you so much! This really hit home today. :)

  2. I needed this today. I'm sick, it's Christmas, my husband is deployed, and the power just came on after three days out because of a windstorm and a power outage. I'm preparing for an unwanted cross-country move in six months. And I've been snapish with my kids. I've apologized, but it doesn't feel like enough, you know? Anyway, I'm going to print this and read this regularly for awhile. Thank you.

    And I found you! I'm a regular reader at the common room. Are you going to be blogging over here regularly?

  3. Both places, different topics. Welcome!! Thanks for your family's service- as a 20 year air force wife, I know the family serves, too. I am so sorry you're having a difficult time, but glad this might be a helpful tool for you to use!

  4. Thank you so much for this post. I especially like the insight about fruit being the natural outcome of a well-watered and fertilized plant. I've written it in next to that verse in my Bible because it struck me pretty hard. <3

  5. Thank you for this timely, gentle post. I am off with my crumbs...

  6. Jenna, I remember the jolt I felt when an aged preacher near the end of his life shared that with our church a couple decades ago. It hit me quite hard as well.
    Kathleen, thank-you for your kind words. I hope it helps.