Have you ever had one of these days…

You wake up and are feeling confident about the day. Then you walk past your child’s room and say, “Good morning!” The response you receive is less than enthusiastic and you think, maybe she will cheer up before breakfast. She just needs to wake up. Then you sit down to eat. She’s not in a bad mood. She’s not even upset or angry. She’s just rather blah.

The other daughter wakes up in a good mood, snuggles with you for a while, and is pleasant and cheerful through breakfast. But later in the morning when she is supposed to be practicing her piano lesson she begins by BANGING on the keys in frustration.

Your first response is to feel despondent—“Great! Another one of THOSE days.”—and join the grumpy crowd.

Would you prefer to listen to this post instead of reading it?

But then you remember…{light bulb}…or maybe more accurately, God reminds you…{gentle whisper}…”Be the thermostat, not the thermometer.”

Are you asking yourself, “What does that mean?”

Download a printable to remind you to be the thermostat for your home.

A wise friend reminds me often that I need to be the thermostat of my home. I need to set the temperature or atmosphere. I have the ability to decide how I will react to the situations I encounter.

I can be reactive and reflect the temperature around me. I can respond with an angry tone when my child or husband does something to upset me. I can not allow someone to enter the line of traffic when I’m running late. I can be fussy when my children are fussy. These are thermometer reactions.

OR

I can control the atmosphere around me. I can choose to maintain a calm voice and express my frustration, suggesting an alternative solution. I can choose to allow someone to enter the line of traffic even if I am running late. I can choose to be cheerful when it seems everyone around me is in a bad mood. These are thermostat reactions.

So how did I react this day? I chose to be the thermostat. I maintained a calm demeanor, choosing to be pleasant and speak gently. I found ways to bring humor into the day and make my children laugh. Laughter is the best medicine, right? I provided unexpected assistance with daily chores. I gave my undivided attention every time it was requested, even when I was in the middle of working on a project.

The outcome?

Our day turned out glorious! My daughters had an attitude adjustment of the best kind. They were pleasant to each other and put the other’s feelings before their own. We spent the whole afternoon outside in the beautiful spring day. AND they weeded the garden. I hadn’t even mentioned it. It was truly a day in which I reaped the benefits of the challenging task of being the thermostat and not the thermometer. Was it easy? No. Does it always turn out this well? Definitely not. Was it worth it? Most definitely!

Would you like a reminder to be a thermostat, not a thermometer? You can download either of these images to paste on your cabinet door, refrigerator, bathroom mirror, cubicle wall, or wherever you will be reminded of this challenging frame of mind. For that matter, print several copies and place them around the house or office.

thermostat-on-white

Hopefully, this will become such a habit and frame of mind that you have more days of being the thermostat than of being the thermometer.

A note of caution—If you post this image around the house, your children may ask what it means. Mine did, and we talk about it often. It has really helped them recognize their feelings and frustrations. I am able to remind them to be a thermostat, not a thermometer and sometimes they can change their response to the situation. The flip side is that sometimes they end up being your thermostat and gently {or not so gently} reminding you that you are reacting to the situation, not controlling it. It’s in those moments, I thank God for the gentle whisper of grace, hug my children, and try to turn down the thermostat.

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