Martha gritted her teeth and started counting. She made it to six before she exploded. “You call this room clean? Only if you’re a pig, and even then, not in my house. Look at this! Dirty underwear stuffed in the corner, your dresser top is piled with junk and this book shelf is a disaster, not to mention your closet…Ooooo, that closet had better be taken care of or you won’t like how I take care of it! Get moving!” After a morning of refereeing kids and house cleaning she was on a short fuse.
“Oooh! I hate it!” Ryan stomped his foot as he spun away and threw a book onto his bed, but not before Martha saw the attitude written there.
She didn’t even try counting, and her jaw still ached from clamping it so tightly just moments before, so she let it fly. “Buddy boy, you just blew it.” Martha bent down, thrusting her face to within inches of Ryan’s. She was sure her hair had turned to molten lava. Ryan’s eyes widened in surprise, but he quickly covered it with more bad attitude.
“Do it again!” Martha demanded.
“Do what again?” Belligerence laced his question.
“Stomp your feet again, just like you did.” His face said he thought she’d really lost her marbles this time. “Do it!” Martha’s voice rose in volume.
Ryan stomped his foot.
“Both feet,” she bellowed, not thinking, just following that mom instinct. Ryan jumped and slammed his feet on the floor, howling his frustration and anger at his mother, but she didn’t let up.
By the fifth stomp Ryan was beginning to cringe when he landed on his bare feet and Martha was thankful their floors were stout.
“Harder!” Still hollering, she didn’t give him a moment’s rest.
He still howled in anger so she kept him stomping. Her throat stung from hollering above Ryan's noise, but she refused to give up before he did. She was at her wit’s end with this child. She’d tried everything she could think of and nothing had worked, so far. In fact, he just kept getting worse. Something had to give, and it wasn’t going to be her.
Ryan jumped and once again slammed his feet down, this time crying out in pain.
“Now! Stomp ‘em!” Ryan jumped and stomped them down again, wincing and crying, his bad attitude quickly fading. Two more stomps and Martha could tell he’d given in.
“Get this room picked up—FAST.” Martha quietly ordered, her own anger and frustration quickly cooling.
She sighed in relief when Ryan gathered the dirty underwear from the corner and put them in the laundry basket. Only then did she dare a glance in the dresser mirror. She hid a smile beneath a glower and sailed out of the room. Her hair was no longer molten lava so it was safe to venture out to where her other children scurried around doing their assigned chores.
That evening Martha called from the kitchen to the living room, where the kids had been playing, “Time to get the legos picked up and put away.”
She moved so she'd be able to see their reaction and got there just in time to see Ryan wind up for his protest. She knew the exact moment when he saw her standing in the kitchen doorway, watching him. His foot was on the way down and there was no way he could stop it. When his foot touched down his eyes were round and his anger mysteriously gone.
Martha shook her head and quietly said, “Stomp 'em.”
“Aww, Mom...” Ryan whined. Martha merely raised an eyebrow and waited. Ryan jumped and stomped his feet down on the carpet, cringing, but without any anger or bad attitude. She was satisfied.
“Supper's ready. Get that mess picked up so we can eat.” Smiling, she returned to the kitchen and fluffed up her hair. She didn't like being a lava mama but she'd kept her head, reined in her tongue and God had sent her a solution that was already reaping rewards.
“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (NAS)
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.