Have you ever looked at your children and thought, “Wow, that is just like my husband!” I’m often tickled by the little mannerisms my daughter and husband share. I am even more amused at family reunions when I see my brother and sister-in-laws walking the same way, using the same phrases, hand motions and facial expressions. Most of the time, these little quirks are endearing, but there are other times when habits, attitudes and behaviors learned are not so charming, like when my daughter throws a Jennifer-sized fit!
I’m an emotional person by nature. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I cry at commercials, laugh out loud at knock-knock jokes and at times, allow my emotions to take control. Perhaps it’s the writer in me. Going from devastated to elated at the drop of a hat has allowed me to dive deep into the emotions of my characters. Although I doubt those on the receiving end would view my emotionalism in such a positive light.
When I was a little girl my parents often told me the poem about a little girl with a Jekyll and Hyde personality. It goes like this: “There was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very, very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid.” As an adult, I wonder if images of me, face to the floor, kicking and screaming, flashed through my parent’s minds every time they recited this verse.
As an adult, my knees are no longer bruised from red-faced temper-tantrums, and for the most part, I keep my bursts of frustration in che, but in its place another crippling emotion has settled in…and even worse, it has stretched its entangling roots into the heart of my daughter. This nasty weed that tries to crowd out the still, soft, encouraging voice of God is the weed of discouragement. Sometimes it amazes me how, as an athlete, I can push through the most difficult physical trials, sprint up the steepest hills, swim against rough currents, all without a hint of discouragement, and yet I crumble at the slightest provocation in so many other areas of my life. Perhaps it is a tight schedule with a long list of to-dos, or perhaps it is an unkind word received when I least expect it, or maybe it is an expectation unmet, but regardless of the cause, sadly, I often respond the same. With defeat, quickly throwing up my hands with an “I can’t do this” response. And even more sadly, my daughter, who watches my every move like a tender fawn learning to run, has sprouted the same weeds.
It is up to me to teach her how to kill them.
And I have decided to handle these pervasive emotions as I would any other weed: with weed killer. I will not entertain them. I will not feed them. I will deal with them quickly, swiftly and fully. Like powerful weed-killer, I will replace those negative, self-defeating thoughts with Words of truth found in God’s Holy Word. And I will teach my daughter to do the same.