Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review: Pitchin' a Fit!...and my own take-away

When I saw that Israel Wayne and his wife Brook had just finished a book on "Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting," as the subtitle puts it, I knew I wanted to read it. Even though I'm not a parent, I am a teacher that interacts daily with little ones that are still, well, children. They are still learning how to behave. So as a teacher, I deal with frustrating situations often. Students talking out of turn? Asking for help and then not listening when I give it? Making loud, onomatopoeia noises in the middle of my lesson?

My reactions aren't always stellar.

I feel like this book has been one of God's probing instruments over the last couple weeks while I've been marathon reading it. Pitchin' a Fit (great title, right?) hasn't changed me, because only God's sanctifying power and my cooperation with that power can change my bad character. That's a process that I am still very much at the beginning of. But the book has been an excellent tool to jumpstart that process.

So can I share some of what I've learned?

But first, the book review segment of this post.

On the semi-negative side, not all of this book has to do with angry parenting. The first several chapters threw me off because they addressed anger in general and I wanted to get to the parenting part! The book also awkwardly switches back and forth between Israel and Brook's point of view.

On the positive side, Pitchin' a Fit is very straight forward. I appreciated the lack of flowery language. No rehashing or cliché fillers. I appreciated the directness and moving on. Some of it will apply, some of it won't. But you won't have to sit through thick, belabored points or irrelevant stories before you get to what does apply. The book also quotes Scripture frequently; it is not a self-help book.

What drew me in immediately was the story in the introduction. Israel shares a personal blow-up scenario involving one of his children and 25 chickens. The story made him feel relatable, and I wanted to read more (granted, my flesh wanted to hear more relatable stories of failures than the book actually provided). For those who have never heard of the authors (I hadn't until I went to the 2014 Homeschool Alumni Reunion where he was a speaker), Israel and Brook Wayne are the homeschooling parents of 9 children. They speak from both experience and the study of God's word.

Ok, what have I learned?

What sticks out to me the most is the content of chapter 7, "But I'm Not Patient!" To summarize (because you'll have to read the book yourself if you want all the supporting details ;)), patience is a fruit of the Spirit. And fruits of the Spirit don't come about because of human effort. "It is our abiding in Jesus that will bear the fruit of patience (see John 15)" (p.102). "It is not an attitude of 'I will, I will, I WILL have patience!'" (p. 103). Oh and don't I know it! Patience is something I have to seek from God, something He needs to work in me.

On a practical level, the authors also talk about triggers and ways to make space so you are less likely to blow up. For my own memory's sake, I want to note some of what God has shown me that seems to be helpful in my classroom.

-be consistent with the rules
-discipline on the first infraction instead of waiting until you can't take it any more
-send the erring child outside when you feel the frustration creep up--by the time I go outside, the frustration is cooled and I am able to talk with (vs. rebuke) the child, and do so without shaming the child in front of the class (ie. a win-win-win!)
Israel and Brook Wayne are clear that there is no excuse for anger. They cite Biblical and logical reasons why there is no excuse. They are also clear that anger does happen. But I like how they address the process of change. They treat it like a habit. You work towards it through instant-by-instant choices. I LOVE this quote on p. 104: "When you fail (sadly, it will happen), instead of falling into a muddle over it . . repent. [...] Invite fellowship with the Lord again and get going, back in the midst of life."
There's tons more content--my book is all underlined--so if you feel this is an area where you need some sanctification, I strongly suggest you get this book and open it with a heart ready to let God work. Pitchin' a Fit may not be the first book written on anger, but it is easy-to-read and Scripture-based, and that's a pretty good recommendation in itself.
One last quote.
"We often get so hyper-focused on the fact that our children need to grow up that we forget that God has a vested interest in this whole parenting journey you are on, and He wants to see you grow!" (p. 105)
I was lucky enough to receive a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.
P.S. If you want to listen to an interview with the authors, here's a link.
P.S.S. I just read this teacher blog post that is really helpful too!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for your review and for linking back to my interview with Israel and Brook!