Part of having a loving attitude toward our children is being PATIENT. I have written about patience here:http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/03/29/five-things-every-parent-needs/ and here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/10/15/the-power-of-patience-day-number-18-of-20-days-toward-being-a-more-mindful-parent/
Having patience is an important part of loving our families. I think there are two very concrete ways you can put patience into action in your marriage and in your parenting:
1. Practice listening without interrupting, judging or being defensive. How many times do we cut off our children, or our spouse when they are upset, to promote our own point of view, or our own judgment?
2. Many women tend to “verbally spill” a cascade of words when they are upset. It is very difficult to have self-control of one’s words, but well-worth the attempt. Can we just be silent but warm and loving during times when the children are falling apart? Can we just be there without verbally (please excuse the term) “throwing up” on family members with our own anger and frustration?
I think especially in this age where people seem to say whatever they are thinking (uh, in multiple forums such as in person, in email, on Facebook, Twitter), and many times with language that is less than appropriate, it is important to show children that we can stop, we can think, we can deliberate, we can decide and then we can speak.
Here are some other ways I am thinking about patience today:
Patience does not mean being a doormat and doing nothing, that is being the jellyfish of Barbara Coloroso’s “Kids Are Worth It!” book, right? However, patience does mean being calm enough to do the right thing! This post talks a bit about that: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/14/how-not-to-be-the-angry-parent/
Patience is knowing that children take time to develop, and whilst you guide the behavior during development, split-second guidance in a rough way in the heat of the moment is not modeling patience or how to deal with life’s upsets. De-escalate the situation, guide, go about what you need to do, but show that deliberation.
As the Internet expands, I find we take things more and more at face value in terms of “experts.” Anyone can put a website up and say they are a parenting expert or a Waldorf expert or whatever. Perhaps part of patience involves not jumping into believing what someone says right off the bat, about thinking about what is right for one’s own family and then being able to distill what information works best for one’s situation and beliefs.
I was thinking about patience as a part of having a relationship with friends who may not exactly share our same beliefs but are still people we enjoy and want to spend time with. Why should we all be the same? Many Waldorf homeschoolers complain that they have no friends who homeschool like them, but my question is can we look beyond Waldorf to the fact that we are all homeschooling? Can we look beyond homeschooling to see that many parents are thoughtful and caring and trying to do their best even if they choose not to homeschool?
In the area of faith and spirituality, I know many people of one faith who have no friends of any other faith. A faithful and spiritual life can become very insulated without that. Do you have the patience to develop long-term friendships with people outside of your spiritual beliefs?
Do you have patience with yourself? Do you forgive yourself for not being perfect and for not being able to do it all? This is not an excuse for doing nothing, you know my mantra about planning, planning, planning and doing, but mothers tend to be so very hard on themselves. I have a friend I always say to, “Isn’t it amazing when a child is going through challenging behavioral stages, we always look to ourselves and what we are doing wrong but when a child is having a smooth stage and behaving the way we would expect, we don’t look back to ourselves at all?”
Happy meditating on patience today!