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Macy Robison

October 09, 2012

I’ve heard the expression about being so angry that your blood boils, but I always assumed it was just a highly descriptive metaphor. I mean, one's blood can't actually BOIL, right?


As you might imagine, the person making my blood boil lately is a member of my family - specifically, my five-year-old. He's normally a delightful child, and has been remarkably easy to raise. (I take no credit for either of these facts. He just came that way.) But since he started kindergarten, he's developed a habit that's making me a little crazy. When something happens that he doesn't like, or if he gets hurt, or if he forgets to do something - it's suddenly my fault.

"Mom! You made me forget my lunchbox!"
(The very lunchbox I had packed and left waiting for him to grab on the kitchen counter.)

“Mom, you make me almost late for school every day!”
(Even though I’m practically pulling him out of bed, into clothes and down the stairs for breakfast.)

“Mom, you made me run into that post and hurt my arm!”
(I was 20 feet away, sitting in the car for this one.)

This last comment pushed me completely over the edge. We had a lengthy, angry conversation about what it means to make someone do something and how I couldn't possibly have made him run into the post in the garage because I was in the car and not even near him at the time. 

I'll spare you the rest of the details, but needless to say, I'm not proud of that conversation. It was especially disappointing because of my current "Seek the Good Project" to look for the hand of the Lord in my life and in the lives of my family members. If I'm so angry it feels like my blood might actually be boiling, the Spirit won't be able to dwell in our home, and the Lord won’t be able to use us as instruments for His good.

After the kids were in bed, I needed to clear my head, so I went on a run. (I do my best thinking while running.) As I made my way through the neighborhood, I remembered a conversation I had with my sister-in-law when we were visiting their home a couple years ago.

My nephew – her oldest – was giving her some challenges, and while she’s a very patient person, she was really feeling frustrated with him and his behavior. As we talked through the issues and possible solutions, she said, “I know I’m overreacting to this situation, but I just get so angry. And if I'm being honest, his behavior probably bothers me so much because I do the same thing and this is one of the behaviors I dislike most about myself."

Those words really rang true to me at the time, and again as I remembered the conversation during my run. Could my anger toward my son be rooted in something I don’t like about myself?


I’m an excuse-maker. A blame-placer.

Running late for school? The kids were moving slow. (Except that the morning would have gone better if I’d chosen to prepare by packing lunches ahead of time.)

Can’t stop drinking Diet Coke? The baby woke up a whole bunch of times last night. (Except that I got plenty of sleep and I really just wanted a Diet Coke.)

Can’t get my act together to read my scriptures? The house isn’t clean? Going out to get fast food again because I didn’t make dinner? Didn’t exercise today? I’ve got an excuse at the ready. And the real trouble is, I’ve convinced myself that the excuses are legitimate. I’ll blame the weather, my kids, my situation – anything that will absolve me of the responsibility that I have to choose.

I arrived home from my run, grateful for this realization about myself and determined to apologize to my son in the morning for the way I reacted to his excuse making. And also determined to be more patient going forward since now I knew better.

Then, to really drive the point home, I came across this quote as I was reading Elder Bednar’s new book, “Act in Doctrine.”

Because of the gift of moral agency, we are agents blessed with the power and capacity to act and not objects to be acted upon.”

The words practically jumped out in 3D from my e-reader. Moral agency is a gift. I have been given power and capacity to act from my Heavenly Father, but I’m choosing instead to make excuses and become an object to be acted upon. No more.

I can’t wait to see what I learn from my project this week. Join me, won’t you?

Macy Robison is a performer, photographer, and mom. She lives with her husband and two kids in Austin, Texas. She enjoys reading, writing, and wishes that General Conference was every three months instead of every six months. She also likes to sing, dance and chase her kids around the house.