Changing the Channel and the Attitude


Not too long ago, my younger daughter got up on the wrong side of the bed. She was grumpy and argumentative. She didn't want to do her chores. She argued with her sister. She was just in an all-around crummy mood. And I wasn't interested in tolerating it.

In one of my more stellar parenting moments, I less-than-calmly (read yelled at her) told her that I wasn't going to let her be crabby all day. She could get it together or she could spend the day in her room.

On a better day, I might have tried to figure out what the problem was. On a better day, I might have come up with a game or a challenge to get her chores done. On a better day, I might have ignored her attitude. But this wasn't one of those days, so I yelled.

After a few minutes in her room to think over her attitude, my daughter came back out to start on her chores, but before she did, she walked over to the radio in the kitchen and changed the channel. I had gotten up a little later than normal and was listening to our local morning news channel. The news had been filled with plenty of death and mayhem. My daughter flipped it over to the Christian music channel.

You see, she recognized that what was on the morning news wasn't helping her mood. She realized that to change her mood, she needed to change the inputs into her brain. She understood that what goes in our ears and our eyes settles in our hearts. It can help us or hurt us.

In that moment, she taught me a lesson: Changing what goes into our brains and hearts can change our attitudes. I'm not going to tell you that the rest of our day that day was perfect, but I am going to tell you that a concerted effort on her part to change the way she approached the day had our day finishing better than it started. Switching that radio channel wasn't a cure-all, but it did help.

Colossians 3:2 says "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." When we do that, it can change our attitude and the tone of our homes. When our kids are struggling with their attitudes or their behavior, it might be time to take a look at the things they are setting their minds on. What goes in their eyes and ears takes up residence in their hearts, so it's important to be diligent in teaching our kids to make good choices about what they see, hear and read.

Taking a step toward changing attitudes and behaviors in our homes (including our own) might be as simple as changing the channel.