We've been struggling with negative attitudes around here this month. I don't know if it's the onset of winter, the long Christmas break or a lack of sleep, but the complaining and always finding the negative in things is getting on my nerves.
The final straw was when the answer to the question "How was your day today?" was "Lame." This response came after my daughter had spent the entire day playing with her friends. After having kids in my house all day, I was ready to throw in the towel -- and throw it at my daughter.
That's when I decided it was time to tackle the negativity, and I discovered something important. Ending the negative attitudes in my house starts with my own. Like it or not, moms are generally the barometer of attitude in our homes. When our kids hear us complaining about things or being super critical, then they think it's OK to act the same way.
I realized that my kids are picking up their complaining and negative attitudes from me. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm pretty sure they could manage to whine and complain all on their own, but they're getting the signal that it's OK to do that from me. How many times do I criticize the driving of someone else on the road? How often do I complain about having to do my chores? How often do my kids hear me complaining about something on the phone with a friend?
It's easy to have a negative attitude. There's a lot that's not right in this world. There are a lot of things on my to-do list today that I'd rather not do. There are a bunch of people that I'd rather not deal with. But that's not the attitude God wants us to have. No matter what we do or who we deal with, God wants us to be a picture of His loving, gracious attitude. Genesis 1:27 tells us "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." We are the image of God to others. If we portray a consistent negative attitude, then that's the image others are getting of God.
So, how do we change our attitude? We don't. We let God change our attitude. If your attitude is setting a negative tone in your home, then ask God to help you see things in a positive light. Ask Him to remind you that even those chores you hate can be an act of worship to Him. I love the song "Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman. If you haven't heard it, check it out:
I love this song so much because that mom picking up toys 15 times a day is me, and it's way too easy for me to forget that doing so can be an act of worship to God. It's much easier to look at it as a form of drudgery.
The best resource I've found on boosting my positivity level as a mom is Karol Ladd's "The Power of a Positive Mom." This book doesn't just talk about the importance of having a positive attitude, it comes loaded with practical suggestions for keeping your attitude on the positive side. She reminds us of the importance of prayer in keeping our attitudes firmly planted in the positive, and she offers great insight into how our attitudes affect our kids.
There's a lot of negativity in this world. It's easy to get drawn into a cycle of negative thoughts and attitudes. Work to break that cycle today because we can't work on our kids' attitudes until ours are in the right place.