Pushing Buttons

October 9, 2021 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Jane Thornton –

You’re trying to help. You’re trying to explain. Your point is crucial to your students’ success. But, the room full of teens blithely ignores you. Their conversation about who threw the paper wad looms more vitally in their psyches than tomorrow’s test.

You remind them they must pass this class this year to graduate with their peers.

You conspicuously jot names of the top offenders for disciplinary action. The chaos increases as fellow students jeer at your targets.

You calmly point out that time wasted in class engenders more burdensome homework.

A mouthy youth smarts off, “You just want us to fail.”

What do you do? What do you do?

My reaction was not effective. Frustration stewed. Anger rose. Bile in the form of truth erupted.

“I am so irritated with you.” I ground the words out through my teeth.

Mild bile, it seemed to me—an understatement, in fact. Perhaps my tone implied the more cutting remarks brewing in my brain because the response I gained echoed my words in a belligerent, disrespectful timbre. “Well, you’re irritating me.”

A similar incident occurred within the week.

This student had mastered the art of pushing my buttons. She knew how to shut down my brain and my training and, from my jaundiced perspective, set out to do so purposely on a daily basis.

I added her to my prayer list. I tried hard for sincerity to pray for her success and not just ask God to have her transferred out of my class. I forced myself to request wisdom in dealing with her instead of entreating Him for her deserved dire days.

God sent me a Bible class on confession and a sermon on controlling my tongue.

Yes, she was sassy. Yes, she was disobedient. Yes, she was defiant. But my response was attack not leadership. Therefore, last Sunday when the lessons sparked the idea to apologize, I believe the Holy Spirit was lending His guidance.

I sought my student out. Without excusing her behavior, I apologized for mine. Her eyes watered along with mine. She explained some of the stress she was experiencing. And when class time rolled around, she told her noisy classmates to get quiet.

On God’s prompting, I think I pushed the right buttons.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV).

Comment prompt: How has an apology soothed rough seas in your life?

About Jane Thornton

Jane Thornton, English teacher, wife, and mom of two almost grown children, strives to break free of the automatic boring label attached to those roles. Her two suspense novels eagerly await a willing publisher, and her articles search for inspiration in the humor and tears of life.
  • Advertisement

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Prove You\'re Human: *