I sat a few rows back in the auditorium of my son's winter assembly yesterday and watched as several classes stood on the stage, fidgeting uncomfortably, waiting for the music teacher to give them the cue to begin singing. She stood at the center-all eyes glued on her-and then she began to bob her head and snap her fingers to a beat.
She was setting the tone for the song and they fell into rhythm with her.
It’s not unlike my own home. Or yours.
As mothers, we can huff and puff and sigh through the morning. Or we can hum and whistle and sing. And we can bet that whichever approach we choose, our mood will transfer to our kids…and our spouse!
Just like the music teacher, we are constantly setting a tone in our homes and the rhythm of the day will follow suit.
Here are a few practical ways that you can set a happy tone in your home:
1. Greet Them In The Morning!
With all the morning rush, it’s easy to toss out a quick “Hey, you!” to a child who straggles down the hall, as you hurry to get breakfast in the oven. Instead, take the time to stop, look them in the eye, and give them a hug-or a hair ruffle. Say something cheerful to them before returning to your list of “to-do’s”. If you must wake them, do so gently and with an upbeat spirit.
2. Tell Em’ How You Like It!
Determine to say at least one positive comment to each person through the morning. It can be a simple, “Oliver you are being so responsible by brushing your teeth without me asking this morning. I like that so much-thank you!” or “Quinn, I like the way you just gave a hug to your little brother. That was kind of you.” Expressing the things you “like” about them encourages them towards right behavior and reinforces the training you are doing throughout the day besides the fact that it encourages them and makes them feel known and loved. That’s a tone worth setting!
3. Prayers On Wheels!
Whenever we get in the car, it’s usually on the heels of a bit of chaos, no matter how much I have prepared in advance to be on time to places. Once we get a few blocks down the road, it’s prayer time. I ask the boys if they have anything they want me to pray about. Then I say a prayer for our safety, our upcoming day, any special needs or requests, and something about each person in the family. It sets a tone of gratitude and reliance on God for all things, makes the boys feel secure and heard, and gives me a renewed perspective for the day.
4. Watch Your Face!
I can feel the tenseness in my face and how my eyes bulge when I get upset with my kids or my husband. But I’m betting that if someone handed me a mirror in the moment, I would change it quickly. It’s ugly. And scary. Determine to set a tone of peace and joy in your home by your body language. It speaks volumes, doesn’t it?
Work on softening your facial expressions and communicating loving-kindness, even when you must discipline your kids-so that they will know that even when they sin, you love them. As the old song goes, “If you’re happy and you know it, your face will surely show it”! We won’t always be “happy” with the circumstance, but we can minimize our threatening body language so that our kids know we care for them, even when they fail.
5. Say A Psalm!
Not sure where to start with changing the attitudes and tone of your home in a lasting way? Memorize a Psalm and recite it each morning together. God's Word is the singular game-changer for hearts. Choose one a month-something simple but that sets a tone of praise. If you learned one a month for all 12 months, you would know those verses extremely well! And, to look back and see that you applied those 12 passages to your lives throughout the year is a great blessing!!
Here are some to get you started:
Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165
You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm 86:5
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalm 19:1
To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Psalm 3:4
Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Psalm 112:5
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8
If I woke up every morning with someone to greet me warmly, who spoke well of me, prayed for me, looked upon me with love, and helped me hide God’s Word in my heart, I’d be a radically different person. Wouldn’t you?
We can do this with God’s help and strength, and the tone we set will be one that will serve our families well as they face the day. We don’t have to be music teachers to understand that rhythms have value. May the tone you set today and the happy voices of your kids speaking life to one another, be music to your ears.
YOUR TURN! Is it a struggle to set a happy tone in your home-what challenges you the most? What do you do set the tone in your home?
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