I’ve found a strategy that has helped me when tensions run high and our household seems to be careening out of control. On those days when everyone is tantruming and crying (including mommy), I call a family meeting to invoke the Townsend Family “Reset Button”. This button is tantamount to infusing much needed grace into a situation that is escalating out of control. We got this phrase from daddy — a network engineer — who has told me (and all those he works with) to not call him when a computer is busted until I have tried to fix it myself with the all powerful “reset” (reboot) button.
Confused? Here’s a real life scenario. It’s a weekday morning. I’ve gotten little to no sleep the night before thanks to a sick child and the boogeyman. My patience is hovering at right about ZERO. The morning begins with “Mommy, Mikey had diarrhea and there’s poopy everywhere!!!” and goes downhill from there. Spilled cereal bowls. Wars over buzz lightyear toys. Unsanctioned water fights in the bathroom. And, oh, the whining. Tantrums are dealt with by mommy with the maturity of a fellow two-year-old. Just when the crying is reaching OSHA levels … mommy yells “That’s it! MOMMY IS ABOUT TO LOSE IT! We need to push the reset button! Huddle up boys!” They have learned that when I say this we huddle up like a football team planning its next play. “Okay guys… things aren’t going so well for us this morning. If we are all going to make it through the day we need to push the reset button.” Typically what follows is everyone choosing one thing that they could do differently (e.g. mommy will have patience, William will be a better listener, and Mikey will stop the screaming!). Then we choose a new activity that will symbolize a restart to the day. Sometimes it’s as simple as going for a walk around the block and sometimes it’s as silly as climbing back into bed for a few minutes and pretending to get up all over again. Before we break huddle everyone pushes their reset button (the bellybutton, of course), takes five deep breaths and places their hands on top of each other’s in the middle of the huddle while yelling “Go Team Townsend!” (Corny, I know, but it makes everyone laugh.) Sometimes we pray together… and sometimes I just silently beg God for an infusion of His grace and patience (a.k.a. that I will cause no bodily or psychological harm to anyone).
I wish I could say I always handle meltdowns with grace, but I guess I wouldn’t be human if I did. Right now as I am stuck in bed way more than I’d like, my emotions and thoughts begin to throw their own tantrums and I get so frustrated with myself. I can barely motivate myself to write this silly blog post (notice this is only my third post in months?), let alone do bills, answer e-mails, plan meals…and the umpteen other things I “should” be doing with my time stuck in bed. Instead I find myself watching Lifetime Movie Marathons and crying at the latest Hannah Montana or Amanda Bynes movie…in the words of my witty sister-in-law, it’s “patheti-sad”! But, the same grace God has shown me, the same grace I am trying to show my children, I must give to myself. I guess that’s what the “reset button” is really about. God’s grace is infinite and no matter how many times I need forgiveness, a fresh start or a new attitude, He always has the ability to push the “reset button” and give us another chance. It’s never too late to make the next right choice. Are you in need of a reset? If you are anything like me you need one multiple times a day! I’ll leave you with this quote — a new favorite of mine…
“Should we feel at times disheartened or discouraged, a simple movement of heart toward God will renew our powers. Whatever He may demand of us, he will give us at the moment the strength and courage that we need.” ~Francois Fenelon
Hi Stephanie. Great post. It made me think of an older worship song with words that say, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning, Great is Thy faithfulness o Lord, great is Thy faithfulness.”
I will remember this “reset button” idea to share with my kids if and when I have grandchildren. Wish I’d thought of that idea when they were little. I miss you!
Great post. You have such great wit and I only hope that I can be as clever as you are when dealing with my children! A good reminder about God’s grace too!