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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Break Reset

Do you ever feel that in your parenting you are not playing your own game, but instead your kids have you playing theirs? Overwhelmed with a sense that my kids were shaping my parenting patterns instead of me, I sought a reset last week by pulling out The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo (Calvary Press, 1997).

One pulls The Heart of Anger off the shelf because one's children have an anger problem. Priolo quickly helps parents realize that while children are responsible before God for their sin, parents also need to take a hard look at the way their parenting provokes their children to anger. Thankfully, right off the bat he writes,
"Perhaps you...have forgotten that God will not ask you as a Christian to follow any biblical mandate without providing the grace and ability to carry it out."
Anger, according to James 4, is rooted in idolatry. We love ourselves more than God and when we do not get what we desire, we become angry.

Priolo identifies four main idols that drive anger: love of money, love of pleasure, love of approval, and love of control/power. We love ourselves in these ways more than we love God or His will for our life. In rebellion, we are angry. Priolo encourages parents to train their children to look for the idol that is behind their angry outburst, think biblically about their anger, and look to Scripture for the antidote.

In our home most of our sibling squabbles and anger stem from love of control/power and love of pleasure. The kids try to control each other and become angry when it doesn't work. They want their own pleasure--to play without interruption--and become angry when chores or parental instructions interfere.

Yesterday we spent extra time in school talking through, with Scriptures, the roots of anger. Is the anger problem solved? No. In fact, one of our children had an emotional outburst later that evening. But God, in His grace, puts pressure on us to force us to face our sin, confess it, and be sanctified.

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