Tony Miltenberger is a husband, father, and follower of Christ. He is currently serving as the lead pastor at Restoration Church Centerville, ohio.

Our Family is Giving Up Yelling For Lent

Do you ever look at your family and wish you were better? You know what I mean.  Maybe you wish you didn’t work so much. Maybe you wish that you ate more dinners at home, or ate a more well-balanced diet. Maybe you wish you did more educational family activities. I think that if all of us had a moment of truth, we could find something that we wish we did better for our family.

I know what I wish for: I wish that I didn’t yell so much. I yell a lot. They aren’t always angry disciplining yells (although sometimes they are). Most of the time they are the type of yells to get someone’s attention, and if they aren’t attention-getting yells, then they are most certainly distance-traveling yells. Distance-traveling yells are the ones where I holler upstairs to get my kids to move faster, or to come downstairs, or to do…..whatever.

I yell to communicate.  I yell to get my kids to listen. I yell because a lot of times it seems easier than having to walk to wherever my kids are to get them to do something. Yelling isn’t the end of the world, but it is something in my life I want to change. I feel as if when I yell, it creates a behavior I don’t want in my life.

So, for this Lenten season I asked the family to help. We sat down and decided that, as a family, we were going to be intentional about how we communicate with each other. During  Lent this year, we decided not to yell.

Lent is designed to help us grow deeper together as we grow towards what we want. Lent, in its simplest form, is designed to challenge us as we prepare for Easter. Lent is a season to take all the things we “wish” we had with God and challenge us to work for them.

I have also realized that I can’t make this change without my family. I can’t resolve to change one of my fundamental behaviors without the support of people around me. This journey would never work if my wife and my kids weren’t on board. At some point I am going to need my five-year-old to help hold me accountable!

Lent was never meant to be a season done in isolation. The most successful change, the change that will bring us closer to what we want in our lives, must be done with the community around us.

Far too often we spend our season of Lent talking about the “what.” What I don’t want to do anymore, what I want to add to my life. What I want from my change.

Maybe true change only happens when we change our dialogue from “what” to “who.” Who do you need to invite into your Lenten journey?


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