TIP 39. TAKING THE FAMILY TEMPERATURE
Raising children and family life often feel like a roller coaster ride, you're up one day and down the next. There are always going to be great days as a parent and occasionally other times that you might consider looking for another family. I would encourage you always to stick with the one you've got, because the grass is never greener on the other side. It's often the challenges in life that seem to be the most difficult that bear the greatest fruit in eternity.
In every family home there develops an atmosphere, a sense or feeling that is both controlled by and influencing the actions of the family members. If there is a friendly and positive atmosphere in the home then it is far more likely that the family members will get along well. If there is an atmosphere of anger and violence in the home then the family members will be far more likely to live in that manner as well.
Some families that I have known in my days as a Pastor, lived in an atmosphere of fear and violence all their lives, and those actions continually played out within the family. It seemed as if they couldn't live differently from the atmosphere that surrounded them. Often these families lived in a neighbourhood that was filled with violence and high crime rates, and that atmosphere covered the entire area.
When people come to Christ they have the power and influence of evil forces broken over their lives, and now have the ability to develop and change the atmosphere or feeling in their own home and surroundings. This is done in a number of ways including changing the way they live and the words they speak.
As a parent and father we also need to become sensitive to and aware of the feeling or atmosphere that is in our homes. This atmosphere can change day by day or even hour by hour, but you can pick it as soon as you walk in the door. This is a part of developing discernment, which is available to every believer in Christ.
Once you sense that there is something wrong within the home, you should begin to pray for God's guidance and wisdom for what to do. Changing a negative atmosphere may require facing and dealing with the problems that caused it in the first place, and bringing reconciliation between the warring factions.
Sometimes it can be an issue with only one member of the family, and you may just sense that something is not right with them. Again pray first for God's help and then use wisdom in approaching the person and beginning discussions. If you have a close existing relationship with the child/person it is usually a lot easier to get them to talk.
Listen, really listen to what they say and you should be able to find out what is the real issue that they are facing, then offer support and encouragement and pray with them for God's help to overcome the problem. Often our family members need initially to have hope and encouragement imparted to help them to overcome the problem they are facing.
Sensing the atmosphere within the home and around individual lives is like taking their spiritual temperature. It is a sense that can be developed as we continue to walk with God, and ask for this grace to be in our lives.
Dads' Call To Action:
Try to sense the feeling or atmosphere within your home when you walk through the door, and if needed use wisdom and encouragement to change it.
(Proverbs 17 v 14)
The beginning of strife is like releasing water;
Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.
(Proverbs 14 v 29)
He who is slow to wrath has great understanding,
But he who is impulsive exalts folly.