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Why Our Attitudes Matter a Whole Lot More Than Our Child’s Behavior

Apr 23, 2020

This post is by Lindsey Bell and was previously published on her own blog: www.lindseymbell.com.

We’ve probably all heard the saying, “If mama’s not happy, then nobody’s happy.” Well, here we are, in about Day 39 of the COVID-19 pandemic (give or take a day or two, depending on when you began self-quarantining), and I’m realizing just how true that is.

Why Our Attitudes Matter A Whole Lot More than Our Child’s Behavior

Most of us have probably seen the movie, Remember the Titans.  (If you haven’t, it really is an amazing movie. I highly recommend it!)

There’s this scene in the movie where one football player is telling the captain of the team that the reason his attitude stinks is because he is following the example set by the leadership. Check it out:

(You can watch the clip here.) 

“Attitude reflects leadership.”

That is true on the football field, but it’s also true in our homes. Our kids’ attitudes reflect our leadership.

Ouch, right? We are on about Day 39 of this pandemic, and I can clearly see that when my attitude stinks, my kids follow suit.

When I’m in a good mood-when I am rested and practicing good self-care and (let’s just be honest) in a good place as far as my hormones go- I am a much better parent.

My children can do something wrong when I’m in a good mood and I’ll handle it well, and we will move on with the rest of our day.

On the flip side, though, they can do that same exact thing on another day – a day when I’m not in as good of a mood, when I’m tired or irritable or PMSing or whatever – and I completely overreact and then the entire day gets ruined.

We (all of us-me and the kids) spiral, and if I’m really being honest, it’s not their fault.

Their mistake was identical both days. The thing that changed was me and my response.

It was ultimately my response that ruined our day, not their actions.

Our attitudes matter, especially in this crazy time of self-quarantine.

I read this metaphor a few years back when I was a new parent. I don’t remember now where I read it, but I loved it then, and it’s stuck with me:

Parents are thermostats, not thermometers. We don’t just tell our home what the temperature is; we set the temperature. We control it. 

This pandemic is wreaking havoc on all of us.

I’m not naive enough to believe I have it rough. I don’t. I live in a country where I can get groceries delivered to my home. I have a backyard my kids can safely play in. I have electricity, running water, electronics, the Internet, and all sorts of things to keep me and kids busy.

We are amazingly blessed…but this season is still difficult, and I want to set the tone for my home in a positive way.

I don’t want my kids to look back on this pandemic and remember a mom who was always frustrated or irritable.

Is it overwhelming to think of work, homeschooling, parenting, keeping our family safe, finances, future plans, etc. etc. etc? Yes, absolutely! We’re all learning here. We’re all struggling to figure this thing out.

But if I get this one thing right- if I can set a good tone for my home by my attitude – then I’m winning at what matters most. 

“Attitude reflects leadership.” I pray my leadership over the next few months in this pandemic helps my children, rather than hurts them.

Let’s chat: leave a comment, telling me one unexpected blessing this pandemic has left in its wake. 


Lindsey Bell is the author of Unbeaten: How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain (and you can too) and Searching for Sanity: 52 Insights from Parents of the Bible. She’s also a contributor to several of the Hello Mornings Bible studies. She’s passionate about her two silly boys, her husband Keith, books of all kinds, and delicious dark chocolate. Her desire is to inspire and encourage other believers through honest dialogue about faith, family, and learning to love the life she’s been given. As a woman who has lost four babies to miscarriage, Lindsey loves helping others find God in the midst of heartache. Find Lindsey online at www.lindseymbell.com


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