Altering the Atmosphere: RE-BOOT!

Yesterday was “one of those days” for us! It wasn’t a BAD day, by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn’t super, either. The kids were “off,” and I was “off,” too. We were all putting in a good effort to “do it God’s way,” but it probably wasn’t our BEST effort. I can’t say that the kids were arguing with one another (as we are quick to discipline when they do), but they just seemed to be talking a bit unkindly. Certainly not the “gentle answer that turns away wrath.” They weren’t neglecting their chores or getting distracted by play…but they weren’t moving as quickly as usual, either.

It seemed like everything I tried to do experienced problems of one sort or another. (Particularly, computer problems of all sorts…AND I was tired, anyway!!) Although I wasn’t YELLING at the kids, my younger son told me I didn’t have a particularly “gentle and quiet spirit” either. 🙂 I think my communications were a bit abrupt–I can’t say I was in the mood for conversation, and the constant correction of different things started to wear on me by mid-morning.

All of us were sort of expecting the “off” day to take a turn for the worse and become a BAD DAY at some point. So, thankfully, I remembered our strategy for dealing with these sorts of days, and implemented it before it was too late!

We talk about this effective “mood-altering” method in The Values-Driven Family, but I’ll summarize it here as well, just in case you haven’t yet read the book. Actually, there’s no point in re-inventing the wheel, so I’ll just paste in an excerpt directly from the book… 🙂


“…when everyone is worn thin and everybody is in a bad mood (frustrated, tired, or just plain irritable), things do not just change by themselves. In fact, you can expect the tone in the home to go from bad to worse, if left unchecked. After this incident, I talked to my wife, all the while thinking that the situation was somewhat what it feels like when my computer is acting up. It can be painfully slow or some features can simply stop working. So how do I respond (being as patient as I am with computers)? I click faster and harder and get frustrated that things just seem to slow down more—or, ultimately, the computer just seizes. How do I get things back to normal again? Reboot: Control—Alt—Delete! Immediately I saw how the concept can also apply to the family.

First, control the situation. Recognize that the environment is not healthy and that the team can’t continue down this path. In our home, we stop everything and call a REBOOT. Everyone gathers in a room and sits down. I (or Cindy, if I am not there) tell the family that the mood is dismal and must change.

Next, alter the path. Ask the family if they want to have a blessed day. Ask them if they feel blessed now. Then tell them that we need to start over and live by the core values so that we can experience the joy, peace, and success God has in store for us that day.

Finally, delete the past. All misdeeds are forgiven. Children receive a clean slate for their encouragement charts and full opportunity to get all their marks. Every person (moody adults included) must give every other member of the family hugs and kisses and tell them they are sorry for being crabby or for doing whatever it was they had done to contribute to the mood crisis.

This method is exceptional! It really works. We have done this and have turned the tone 180 degrees in our home. Rebooting is a staple part of maintaining peace and joy in our home. It helps parents and children alike to recognize that peace, joy, and success are a choice. We as a family unit can set a joyful and loving tone in the home. Implementing this method encourages everyone in the family to come on board as a team and choose to take advantage of the new start offered.

This is a great reflection of the grace that God extends to us through Christ, offering a fresh start when we’ve chosen the wrong path and come to him in repentance. We urge you to try this method in order to reduce the expression of negative emotions that threaten to wreak havoc in your home. The Bible says, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife” (Proverbs 17:1)—this is so true! Little else matters in a home with a negative tone.

And, true to form, the re-boot was a success! I wish I hadn’t waited until lunch time to do it. 🙂 God was nice enough, afterwards, to remind me just how long it’s been since we’ve needed to use the “RE-BOOT.” But it’s a really good tool to have in your parenting tool box. We all have “one of those days,” sometimes.