Even a Child Can Do It
Our son Nick and his family seem like a perfect family. They look like they must always be kind to each other; their children are probably good and kind and share all the time.
Well, if you are human, you realize that is not the case. They struggle like every family struggles. There is always an ongoing fight to do what is right.
A while back one of their children developed a real rage problem. I am the Yaya (what my grandchildren call me), and on one visit even I saw that this was a real difficult puzzle. Nick and Julia asked us to pray for them to have wisdom and discernment, and so we did earnestly. I am sharing about this with their permission and with the hope that their story could help others.
One particular evening the anger again came to a head. Nick and Julia had been reading different things to try and find some answers, and they had come up with a plan. As Nick started to talk to his child he laid down some rules that the child needed to follow when he began to feel great anger. The idea was to help him get control of these overwhelming feelings he was experiencing. They called it “Take 5.”
- Take deep breaths
- Count from 1 to 10, and then count backward from 10 to 1
- Say one thing that you are thankful for
- Practice smiling even if you don’t feel like it
- Pray to God for help
The first two cause a person to break from the aggravating situation, slow things down, and let off some steam. But Nick and Julia chose being th(i)nkful as the exercise that tends to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Forcing yourself into a thought-search for positive things tends to eat the stuffings out of anger.
Take 5 has helped tremendously! Not only has it helped their child control his anger outbursts much better, but also the parents, and grandparents (!) have benefited from this exercise. It is simple enough for a young child to implement, but effective enough for anyone, young or old. Hearing this little guy pray to God for help is so inspiring. We, too, can pray to God for help and He hears and answers us.
After a season of their child experiencing victory, Nick and Julia happened upon a candy bar that was called Take 5. 🙂 One evening their little guy was allowed to stay up after the others had gone to bed, and just Daddy, Mommy, and the little victor each got to enjoy a Take 5 bar. Hearing about this made my heart smile.
You Choose Th(i)nkfulness
Just like a little child seeking to get control over his or her emotions and choosing one thing that they are thankful for, we as adults can combat both the flurry and fury of negative emotions by choosing to be thankful. It requires a choice.
So, I shared the Take 5 concept with a friend recently and within a day she texted me that she had put it to use. At the end she commented, “Take 5 is not just for 4-year-olds!”
Thanks requires choice.