We are no longer children, tossed here and there… -Eph 4:14
Do you ever let your kids drive the emotional temperature in your house?
It’s dress rehearsal week this week for a community theater production of School of Rock. My daughter is in the cast, and she’s 10 years old.
If any of you have been involved with a community or high school theater production, you know what that last final week before the show’s opening look like (tech week for those in the biz).
Over 60 9-18 year-olds crammed together in close proximity, never being grumpy (I’m sure).
Hours of rehearsal with constant (yet gentle and appropriate) correction from production staff – this staff is also extremely encouraging. If you’re in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend getting involved if you’re children are into drama and musical theater (drop me a note and I’ll give you the 411).
Then we parents get them at the end of the evening. And man, the emotions! They go from elation to deep sobbing to knowing everything way better than dear old dad as quickly as you can say Simply in the Suburbs.
I’m embarrassed to say that it gets under my skin. I don’t lash out or yell, but I do trade snippy comments with snippy comments and let my innards get all twisted and upset, especially due to that thing when your kids will never just say, “Yes, papa, you are so right…. thank you for your insight and years of wisdom that you are now dispensing to me about how I should handle my interpersonal relationships and responses to teachers and others in authority.”
Rather, they look at you as if you were the dumbest, most ignorant human on earth.
I get hurt in my feelz and allow her sleep-deprived, stressed-out attitude to determine what’s going on up inside my heart and mind.
I get tossed to and fro, hither and yon. I become another kid instead of the adult. I don’t set the tone, but respond to the tone being set by others.
These, my friend, are signs that I need to grow up more.
The short passage in Ephesians 4:11-16 is all about how God gifted individuals in the church to help each other grow up. Yes, he’s telling us not to be ‘tossed here and there by every wind of doctrine”, but the whole context tells us that we shouldn’t be tossed to and fro, period.
We shouldn’t let our appetites and emotions drive us. That’s what kids do, and one of our jobs as parents is to help them slowly work out of that.
The idea of influence is not a one-way street. We get influenced and we influence others.
The question is, how do we handle the influences that are bombarding us?
Are we responding like a tennis practice backboard? We bounce back to others what our surroundings are serving up to us?
Or are we responding more reflectively? We get input, process it, and respond in a way that brings the temperature of the room down a few degrees?
The perfect picture is customer service calls. You’ve made the call to the customer service line where the rep starts off wanting to fight. It goes from bad to worse super quick.
Then you’ve made them where the rep obviously had some training. They take your frustration, respond in kindness and with a desire to help, and slowly your frustration turns from a boil to a simmer.
That is how I want to be, not only with my family, but at work and in my community and with anybody else I come to meet.
I want to be a person that brings peace. I want to influence any space I enter by bringing stress levels down, not because I’m Mr. Happy Pants, but because I am calm, trustworthy, and able to handle the emotions of a situation like an adult.
Waves will come. No doubt about it.
How will you and I respond?