How true that we reap what we sow! If we sow kindness to our children, we will reap a harvest of kind children. Our children will mirror our attitudes. If we sow yelling, we will reap yelling. A peaceful environment is the reward of modeling and expecting peaceful behavior. Underwhelmed moms live in primarily peaceful homes. They expect their children to be happy and cheerful, and they can expect this because they are happy and cheerful themselves.

I imposed a rule upon myself when my older four children were younger. I told myself I was not going to yell, either to raise my voice to my children in anger or even simply to get their attention. That meant that I would get up off the couch and go find whomever I wanted or needed at the moment. For example, instead of yelling, "Taaaaaylorrrrrrr!" when I needed him, I would actually look out the window for him or jog up the stairs to see if he was in his room. It was a lot more work than just bellowing, but in my book it was worth the effort.

Then I had four more children. I became older and more tired. Yep, I started to get lazy and would call for the kids when I needed them. I lowered my standards little by little, almost imperceptibly. One day I heard my children yelling for each other and thought, "What is up with all that yelling? How annoying!" So what did I do? I yelled, "Come see me right now!" Ahem. The irony of the situation hit me, and I remembered, "Oh, yeah. I never used to yell. What happened?" Guess where their yelling came from?

Here's some homework. Try it for a day to see how conditioned you are to yelling for your children. (We are not even talking about yelling at them. I don't recommend yelling at children for any reason.) Try not yelling at all for anything for just one day. At the end of the day, evaluate how hard this exercise was for you. If it was tough, perhaps you should try again tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that until a new habit is formed. I guarantee your children will notice and will reflect a more peaceable spirit as a result.

It is quite possible for us to have cheerful spirits that are not reflected in our children. This is a training issue, and training starts with setting expectations. If having cheerful children in your home is important to you, then you will clearly let your children know that grumbling and complaining are not allowed, and if they do not stop the grumbling and complaining, there will be consequences. Outline the consequences that will await, and then enforce them. If you keep a close watch on your children's grumbling behavior, it will be eliminated, and new patterns will be formed in the hearts and minds of your children. With diligence, your life will be made simpler and your home a happier place in which to be.

Keep in mind that we must model as well as enforce the attitudes and resulting behaviors that we want to see in our children. The good news is that on days when you do find yourself struggling to be cheerful, being around your cheerful children will perk you up. Cheerfulness is contagious.

Whoever said that parenting isn't easy was right on! We have to control ourselves as well as our children, and either one is impossible without the strength and wisdom that only comes from the Lord. Realizing the need for change is the first step on the journey of transformation into the likeness of Jesus.

Here's to a more peaceful home—starting with me! 

Published on February 4, 2009


Joanne Calderwood has worked with children for 20 years, initially as a classroom teacher and most recently as a mom. She's the author of I'm the Mom; I Don't Have to Know Calculus and The Home School STUDENT Planners. Joanne speaks, consults, and cherishes being a wife to Tim, her husband of 23 years, and being mom to her eight children. Visit her at www.URtheMom.com.

This article was originally published in the Jan/Feb '09 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Get more great homeschooling help by downloading our FREE report entitled "The Secret to Homeschooling Freedom" by visiting http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com/resources/report.htm