Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thermostat or Thermometer?

We had a great lesson in YW on Sunday, all geared towards helping our girls love and appreciate their parents.
But Kellie's object lesson has really stuck with me.
She brought a thermostat, discarded in her recent remodel, and a thermometer, like all Arizonans hang outside to report our summertime agony to the civilized world.

After showing them to the girls, she asked, "Are you a thermometer or a thermostat?"

Thermostats stay where they're set, never more than one or two degrees off center.

I know I'm a thermometer.

No matter how hard I work at it, I'm a reactor. I never take the time to think before acting or saying anything. And, I'm a little hot-headed to boot.

Last night is a prime example of my status as thermometer.

Brad and I were talking in his office when Heidi returned from picking Ben up from wrestling. The first thing out of her mouth was, "Ben got a concussion." As a dutiful thermometer, I began reacting, angry that coaches hadn't called parents, hadn't walked him out to the parking lot, etc. I mean, it was a CONCUSSION! He didn't just get a bloody nose--he was knocked unconscious, no memory of the incident, and had dilated pupils. I thought this reaction was well within my realm as mother!
Heidi, my resident thermostat, cast her eyes down and said quietly, "Mom, you don't need to freak out." A comment for which she was sharply reprimanded. Then Brad said basically the same thing. Both comments sent me over the edge. Couldn't they see that I was acting as the protective mother? Couldn't they see that my anger was directed at coaches, not family?

As we knelt for prayers last night, Brad tried to subtly address the issue again. And me, in my pride, of course wouldn't listen to him. But as I got in bed, I started taunting myself--thermometer, thermometer, thermometer! I hadn't addressed Ben's feelings or situation. I'd just jumped to conclusions.

Such weakness. Such folly. Such frailty.
I admitted to myself (the first step of repentance, I reminded myself) that I was wrong. That I owe my family more respect than that.

Epiphany #51--It must be natural man week for me.

My question to you all is this:
How do I become a thermostat? Or at very least, where do I purchase the retrofit kit for my thermometer?


  1. Heehee. If you find out where to buy that retrofit, let me know. I am all too often a thermometer myself.

    Like all mothers, though, I can be a thermostat when I really need to be, and the times I have managed it are situations where it has been abundantly clear that if I didn't, my child would be seriously (and negatively) impacted.

    Amazing how we can hold that thermometer steady and at least present ourselves as thermostats when the chips are down. Like you, though, I would like to do that a little more reliably in those everyday situations that come up. (I have NEVER been good with concussions. I don't like it when my children are hit in the head. Period.)

    And I don't handle it well, either!

  2. Sorry Dallin nailed Ben in the nose with his knee - his knee is sore today so we both are really feeling for Ben.

    When you find the hardware and figure out the installation (cause that is always tricky) let me know and I will (as always) copy you!

    Love ya,
    PS my word is outes - but I have an innie

  3. Funny thing, Jen, I was reading an old English log from 1987 and came across this entry...just after I moved in with you and Paige, Lisa, Mel, and Anne.

    "My roommates are very nice. I think they will be a lot better than my old roommate. My roommate Jenny is the one in my room. She is quite hyper, but she is nice anyway. She is sort of entertaining to watch." I bet you are still "sort of entertaining to watch." ;)

  4. I think Sue said it beautifully.

    The world needs thermostats and thermometers. I guess, like everything, it's all about balance.
    Ewww, there's that word again!

    And lastly, I know we haven't officially met, but just go with me here...surely I can't be the first to mention this....it seems like you are too hard on yourself. Am I right, or way off?

  5. Well I don't believe we can't all be thermostats or thermometers I think the world needs us both. I think I am both at times... Maybe not. I don't know what I am. At times when we have people we care about like our kids we can see our temps rise to the highest degree.