Awwwwwww; I don’t want to; I don’t feel like it; Why???????????????; Not now; Grumble, grumble, grumble; You can’t make me; She’s looking at me; Poke, poke, poke, poke, poke….
If you have heard any of these things in your home, then someone’s been sportin’ a ‘tude! This is how my children refer to the bad attitudes that occasionally (or perhaps even more often) creep into our home and affect our relationships.
Focusing on me, me, me and what I want right now is a very dangerous thing to do as it can lead to a self-centeredness and sense of entitlement that can pervade everything we do.
At one stage in our children’s adolesence, a friend with similarly aged children and I were discussing the attitude in our homes. Her description looked like this:
“If I make a fist and stick my index finger pointing up and with the other hand have my index finger pointing down and then circle the down finger around the up one that is a picture of my child – in the center of the universe!”
I chuckled because we were going through the exact same thing in our home. Although I felt for my friend, there was some comfort in knowing that we weren’t going through this alone.
My mother tells me stories of my grandfather when he was a young boy. ‘Bumpa’ was very ill and so weak that one of his brothers used to carry him on his back to school because he was unable to go the distance on his own. I remember my Bumpa as a man who loved to enjoy his life. He went through WW II and came out physically intact (he never did talk about it though). In all things, this man seemed to display a positive attitude. When he was a boy, he was in the school yard one day and picked up a piece of paper that had been cast aside. When they got into the classroom, he put it in the trash. The teacher stopped the class and commented on how Walter was the only one to stop and take care of the garbage. Despite the inconvenience, he went out of his way to do the right thing.
One of Bumpa’s favourite sayings was, “You can have a pain, but you don’t need to be a pain.”
I don’t know a lot about Bumpa’s life. (There are some bits and pieces of family history that make me shake my head.) What I do know is that he developed an attitude that wasn’t solely focused on him. I’m not sure where he stood with the Lord but still I believe that I can learn from the example he set for having a positive attitude. I’m sure it didn’t always come easily but he determined that that was how he wanted to approach life. He made a choice to have a positive attitude. Even when it’s not easy, each one of us needs to make a choice on how we are going to live and deal with those around us.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: