Parenting calls on us to be patient even when we do not feel like it.
I have been thinking a lot about patience. I have written about patience before on this blog, but as I grow and change new thoughts come to me.
And what I really want to tell you today, my friends, is that the only way to increase your patience is to take your IMPATIENCE and replace it with LOVE.
Love for your children.
Love in knowing that maturity comes slowly.
Love in having a soft and gentle answer to what a child does that is immature.
Love in knowing when a child does need to be pushed a bit in order to move forward.
Love in being able to freeze time, in a sense, whilst the children are all screaming at once, and to still see the tenderness in that scene. To really see those needs that have to be met, but knowing there is time present to do that.
For one cannot be in a hurry in parenting. It solves nothing to jump to snap decisions, snap judgments, snap action. I have a dear friend who related to me one day that every time she was trying to get all her children out of the door, inevitably all of them would fall apart and all of them would all be talking, screaming or crying louder and louder to get her attention. Who should she listen to? Take turns, listen to “he said, she said”, pay attention to the youngest, the most urgent? I suppose any of the courses could be reasonable as we step in and try to fight and wade through all of this…but perhaps there is another way to look at it all.
And that is this: replace the frustration you are feeling with love; and keep your eye on the original intent. If it is time to go, then we get in the car and hash this out later. If it is time to eat, then we are eating and we can talk about all this in a bit. Guide your children toward the immediate need or goal, whether this is that it is time to go, time to eat, etc. Deal with the causes of falling apart as a separate issue once everyone calms down, and solve the problems. Maybe the cause of everyone falling apart was no one could find their shoes; therefore the shoes need to be in a central place so everyone can find them. Maybe there is a need for a bathroom break for everyone fifteen minutes before dinner. But these solutions will come after the immediate goal is met. Craft your life.
Slow, steady, warm and loving, These are the mantras of parenting. It can be hard to do this alone as we are just human; this is when your developed spiritual path will envelop your weaknesses, your frailness, your challenges and human-ness. Prayer avails much.
P is for Patience, but L is for Love.