Sarah Joy Albrecht

Parenting: There are Worse Things Than Yelling

Dec
15

This week I read, Huffington Post’s well shared piece, 10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling at My Kids. I wholeheartedly agree that mothers need to keep their temper under control, and have written on this topic before:

“His words had really hurt me, and they were apparently still on his conscience. What if he hadn’t stepped on the thorn? Would he have had a chance to make things right? What if I had yelled at him and refused to help because of his negligence [disobedience] for not wearing shoes outside?” – Excerpt from Crying Over Spilled Oatmeal

However, it is important to remember that while lowering one’s voice may be like refraining from throwing gas on a fire, there is still a fire and it needs to be dealt with.

Face it — those of us who cringe when people yell (and are secretly freaked out at our own hypocrisy when we yell!) often avoid confrontation to begin with.

We’d rather escape.

Some of my personal favorite escapes are to mow the lawn or retreat to my peaceful comfort zone of weeding the garden outside…while all hell breaks loose in the house. I have also been known to spend an extra-long time in the shower, not just to get extra clean, but to drown out the sound of kids fighting over video games downstairs. It’s not as overt, but sometimes I “graciously” let my children play outside with friends while I stay inside (savoring the quiet as if it were a secret cigarette) cleaning up yet another my childrens’ ridiculous experimental cooking messes…when I should be doing the hard job of getting to the heart of why all five children refuse to follow through on their promise to clean up after themselves and are instead blaming their siblings for the mess.

Certainly, there is a time for peace and rest! As a parent, though escaping in the middle of a conflict with a child is like taking a nap on the job.

The Bible says, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

True peace is not simply the absence of yelling, or even the absence of conflict, but it comes from a heart that is steadfastly trusting in the Lord and His everlasting promises; a peace that is not dependent on circumstances. Attempting to control circumstances and manufacturing peace through any other means besides trusting in Christ is a sin. It’s called idolatry.

In Paul Tripp’s Book, Age of Opportunity , one of the first few foundational chapters deals with parental idols. Tripp describes how the worship of such idols shapes our responses to our children. About the idol of peace and comfort, he writes,

The Idol of Comfort. Secretly in our hearts, many of us want life to be a resort… We reason that we have a right to quiet, harmony, peace, and respect, and we respond in anger when we do not get it. Scripture warns us that life is far from being a resort. Life is war…the tumult, chaos and unrest of the teen years are not only the result of significant biological changes taking place, but because of the dramatic spiritual war going on as well.

Parents who demand comfort, ease, regularity, peace, space, quiet, and harmony will be ill-equipped for war. They will begin to see their teenager as the enemy. They will begin to fight with him rather than for him, and, even worse, they will tend to forget that the true nature of battle and the identity of the real enemy. They will act out of frustrated desire, doing and saying regrettable things, and they will fail to be effective and productive in those strategic moments of ministry in which God has placed them.”

(How did this description of my unchecked idolatrous heart end up in this parenting book?)

Those times when I choose to walk away and conveniently find something else to do? I’m walking out on “strategic moments of ministry”. Under the guise of being “peaceful”, I’m missing the moments God is placing in my life that He is not only using to help my children to grow and mature, but to help ME grow and mature.

It takes faith in God to stand on the promises of His word. It takes faith to be brave enough to speak truth in love, and when we do, we grow in Christ… and so do our children.

Upon realizing the patterns of my idolatrous heart, I confessed that I lacked faith and that I was more afraid of yelling and conflict with mouthy, lawyer-like children, than I was of obeying God and training my children up in the Lord. I confessed that I was more interested in the appearance of peace than the peace of Christ. I asked the Lord to forgive me and asked Him to work in my life, no matter what it takes, and to let me to be shaped by His leading and not by my personal comfort.

Worse than yelling is the negligence of our children’s spiritual nourishment. As Tripp points out, life is spiritual warfare. Ignoring heart issues and merely telling kids to be quiet, or being silent ourselves, does not equip children for battle.

I confessed to my children that I had not being diligent in teaching them, and asked them to forgive me. I made it clear that I would no longer be “tolerating” or turning a blind eye to sinful behavior, and that, even if it was uncomfortable or inconvenient for me, that I would be doing a better job of helping the children work through conflicts. I also made it a point to read The Young Peacemaker by Corlette Sande again with them, to better equip all of us for the conflicts we have been facing in our home. I reminded them that we were in it together, and that we were on the same team.

After two weeks of reading The Young Peacemaker together, I have to say that there has been an improvement of attitudes in our home… both in me, and in my children.

I leave my readers with the wise words of Elisabeth Elliot, which were shared with me by mother in law back in 2008:

The job has been given to me to do.
Therefore it is a gift.
Therefore it is a privilege.
Therefore it is an offering I may make to God.
Therefore it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him.
Therefore it is the route to sanctity.

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Sarah’s “Healthy Fats” Salad – Turkey, Avocado, Granny Smith, Raisins…

Nov
19

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For health reasons, I have been trying to eat more protein from poultry (vs. beef), more healthy fats, more B-complex vitamins and more fiber.

This salad has it all, it’s really tasty, AND it’s a great way to use leftover turkey.

Sarah’s Healthy Fats Salad

Makes 2 Servings:

1 cup cubed turkey
1 whole avocado, cubed
1 medium tart, firm apple .. like a Granny Smith, cubed
Sprinkling of raisins
Sprinkling of crushed walnuts
Drizzling of cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil (Di Giovanna is my favorite)
Drizzling of rice wine vinegar

Nutritional Info Per Serving (Click for complete)

Calories 440.9
Total Fat 23.3 g
-Saturated Fat 3.3 g
-Polyunsaturated Fat 5.0 g
-Monounsaturated Fat 12.4 g
Total Carbohydrate 41.7 g
-Dietary Fiber 9.6 g
-Sugars 26.4 g
Protein 22.6 g

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Simple Lunch: Tomato Soup With Basil, Parmesan and Biscuits

Sep
26

Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.
Proverbs 15:17

The cupboards are getting bare.

September’s grocery money is nearly gone.

We’re breaking into the canned food.

Today’s lunch was a simple canned (store brand even!) Tomato Soup. However, a pinch of Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of fresh basil from the garden turned a mundane can of boring into a steamin’ hot feast. The biscuits were from America’s favorite baking mix and took 5 minutes to make. They baked while the soup came to a simmer.

I almost didn’t make the soup today because my children – yes, the same ones who will eat ear-ringing hot sauce and international curries – don’t like tomato soup and the complaints were quite loud.

Still, I insisted that, even though it wasn’t their favorite food, it was sustenance and that perhaps by adding ingredients, it wouldn’t be as bad as they’d imagined.

Empowering them with a plate of biscuits to crumble in, snippets of basil and a container of Parmesan, they each created their own version of the soup.

Every bowl was finished down the last drop.

Don’t merely be content, be creative. It’s easy to look at what is set before us – food-on-a-budget, possessions, parenthood, employment and even relationships – and feel as though we have to suffer through. Yet, there is joy to be found in taking something ordinary and making it better; redeeming it.

Sometimes “making it better” doesn’t involve changing the object or situation itself, but our attitudes. When our mindsets change from drudgery to thanksgiving, we are then free to contribute meaningfully and nurture. Nagging and complaints stem from a root of bitterness. Compliments (finding the good) and nurturing grow from love.

Love is like Parmesan and fresh basil to store brand canned tomato soup.

Simple Lunch: Spicy Coconut Chicken & Zucchini

Sep
24

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This is a concoction I made with leftovers and pantry ingredients + some herbs from my (now end of season) garden (can I just say that fresh herbs are such amazing flavor pick-me-ups?).

Why do I have the Simple Lunch category? It reminds me that, instead of feeling dizzy and moving through my day with a hunger headache, I can actually whip up something quickly that I will enjoy eating. Most days, I have to get to the headache stage before I realize this. I’m getting better though!

I have a feeling many moms are the same way… going about their day, taking care of their children, and surviving on room temperature milk left in sippy cups and PBJ crusts. Shall we encourage one another to take better care of ourselves?

Spicy Coconut Chicken & Zucchini

Sauté minced garlic and ginger in a skillet.
Add cubed chicken (leftovers from that big batch of broth I made!)
Add chopped zucchini (mine was from the bottom of my veggie drawer, mushy parts cut out!)
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a pinch of curry powder
Stir the goodness together for a minute to distribute the spices
Pour in coconut milk (canned) to cover your chicken/zucchini
Simmer for a few minutes until the zucchini is tender and coconut milk thickens
Sprinkle on minced fresh basil and cilantro (I had leftover basil from our pizza last night!)
Plate and serve with lime wedges and Red Chili Hot Oil

..because Moms need to eat lunch, too!

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Simple Lunch: Scrambled Eggs with Taco Beef & Cheddar

Sep
20

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Scrambled eggs with leftover taco-seasoned ground beef, topped with melted sharp cheddar.

..because moms have to eat, too :)

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Christmas in July: Used Books from Amazon

Jul
26

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  • Becoming a Father by William Sears (Reading this for work.)
  • Bubby’s Homemade Pies by Ron Silver and Jen Bervin (I had borrowed it from the library until I could no longer renew… love this comprehensive book on pies!)
  • The Yellow Pages Guide to Educational Field Trips (updated from Everything from A-Z Field Trips) by Gregg Harris (Homeschooling resource for the field trip group I am forming.)
  • Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family by Kim Brenneman (Need I explain?)