Practice makes perfect.
We know this is true for first steps, basketball shots, and multiplication tables. Practice means starting where we are with plans to improve. And when my large family decided to take on the challenge of going a year without grumbling (yes, really!), I knew it would take a lot of patience, a lot of prayers, and a lot of practice. Our family members had gotten into the habit of complaining, now we had to turn it around. Here are two ways that I shared in my book The Grumble Free Year.
Practice with Your Thoughts
I’ve been a mom for dozens of years, and I’ve learned that wherever we fix our thoughts, our actions will follow. Remembering this, I gathered my kids around the table.
“We’re going to talk about things we can do without grumbling and arguing,” I told them.
Maddie raised her eyebrows. “What do you mean?” She glanced at her twin, and worried expressions filled both of their faces.
I softly bit my lip, knowing what I wanted to say but trying to figure out how to explain it. “I’ve heard it said that many athletes find success by planning ahead for the win. They picture slicing through the water or watching the basketball swish through the net. They plan for victory before it comes, and it seems to me this can work for our non-grumbling too.”
Practice makes perfect.
“So you want us to think about not grumbling?” Grace’s fingers tapped on the tabletop in a steady beat, and I knew she was already done with this conversation before it started. Maybe that came from being fifteen. Or maybe it came from worries over what I would ask them to do.
“Actually, yes.” I softly chuckled. “I want us to think ahead through things we normally do in a day and picture ourselves doing them without grumbling.”
We talked about practicing not grumbling, in our minds, when it was time to start our chores and get ready for bed. We tried it that day, and I reminded my kids that they could practice obedience in their thoughts at other times, too. And then we moved to the next step.
Practice with Your Words
The sun shone brightly through the dining room windows, and Sissy smiled as she noticed the next-door neighbor heading out to play.
“Mom, can I go ride my bike with my friend?”
The sun felt warm on my shoulders, and I nodded. “Yes, but before we go out, I want to practice something first.”
“What?” Sissy crossed her arms and tapped her shoe on the ground. “Can we do it later?”
“It’ll just take a minute, but I want to practice something.” I glanced at the clock. “Dinner will be ready in forty-five minutes, and I’m going to call you inside. Let’s practice me calling you in and you say, ‘Yes, Mom, coming!’ ”
A sly smile curled up one side of Sissy’s mouth. She knew as well as I did that she was prone to grumble when she didn’t want to stop playing.
She rushed to the coatrack to get her jacket. “Okay, I’ll remember!”
“No, get back here,” I called after her. “I want us to do this right. I want you to pause, think through what it will be like to obey, and then I want you to practice saying those words.”
Sissy grabbed her jacket and trudged back to me. She squeezed her eyes tight and then opened them.
“Time to come in for dinner,” I pretended to call.
“Yes, Mom, I’m coming.”
She cocked her head to see if I was satisfied…
Read the rest of this article here: https://www.rootedfamily.com/lifestyle/prayer/no-grumbling-practice-doing-right/
Practice Makes Perfect
It wasn’t always easy and the results weren’t immediate, but after a year of no grumbling, our life as a family has radically changed. Now, instead of finding fault and looking for excuses, we find joy in the journey–whether rain or sun. We have learned to laugh at our struggles and look for God in the small inconveniences. Day in and day out we are growing and becoming more thankful for all we have.
I’ve been looking forward to sharing this journey with you since the beginning and now its finally here. Get yours here: www.thegrumblefreeyear.com
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