Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Patience

I recently read a quote that said that we should not pray and ask God to give us patience, but we should ask Him to help us learn patience.

Well, I sure am sorry I prayed that prayer ... because God sure is answering in the form of one certain 4 year old cutie that lives under our roof!

This kid should be a trial attorney. She will argue her points to the death, and has quite a long memory for the one time there was an exception to the rule ("but remember that time you DID let me eat two candies after dinner? why can't I have two now???")

I can just hear her in twenty-five years - "But Your Honor, in article XYZ of legal code I4GET it says blah blah blah, and besides, last year you let Person A off the hook for the same infraction. . ." (Although if the judge says 'no', I'm hoping she will have grown out of that "throw yourself on the floor if you don't get your way" stage . . .) But really, what is it about kids that they can remember the most minute detail when it benefits them but somehow forget the warning you gave them 30 seconds ago? Aargh . . .

The other area of patience with this unnamed family member is in listening to her stories (which at least do not involve bad behavior!) If this kid isn't an attorney, she will be a novelist because pretty much every story she tells lasts about 2 weeks. And listening for her requires eye contact. So if you aren't looking, she just may start over, which - let me tell you from experience - you DON'T want to happen :)

Most days I do not feel very patient. In fact, every morning I pray that I will be more patient, then every evening I ask for forgiveness because once again, I have lacked patience. However, I must be at least gaining in the patience department because others will sometimes say to me "wow, you seem so patient with your kids. Don't you ever yell? I can't picture you yelling." And my response is "ummm, well, I don't yell at the baby . . ." Of course I yell, folks! All moms do sometimes, if they're honest!

But for me, learning patience isn't really a matter of yelling or not (because generally, I'm not a big yeller); for me, it's the spirit in which I deal with my kids. Am I annoyed by one more request for juice and snacks? Am I complaining about my lack of sleep because of a teething baby? Am I frustrated when my little ones don't do things MY way? For me, this is the daily battle, it isn't just a matter of action, but a matter of the heart.

So ... I will continue to pray that I will learn patience. Not just for the sake of my children, but for the sake of my growth. I sure have a long way to go, but I'm learning . . . .

2 comments:

ErinOrtlund said...

I have not been doing well in the patience department these days! It's funny--back when I counseled parents, it just seemed so obvious that parents should stay calm when dealing with their kids. Somehow I failed to consider how anger and frustration can well up in the heart and make "calm action" seem impossible!

One thing I say to Eric on occasion is that "parenting this way isn't natural." For most of history and even now in so many places, people lived in extended families. If I had a mother and an aunt and a grandmother all living right in the house with me, and numerous cousins Kate could play with, life would be quite different! It would have its own annoyances, I'm sure, but I think I would be less stressed out by the kids. I think being one adult woman in a house with needy kids goes counter to how we're wired. At least that's what I tell myself to make me feel better about my lack of patience!!

Mama Amy said...

Yeah, didn't it seem easier BEFORE we had kids?? Now I'm pretty embarrassed about some of the things I said in my comm.ed. parenting talks! One of the things that is frustrating to me right now is that when I use the "patient" approach, I don't necessarily get action w/ Audrey. Of course anger and yelling sometimes work but at what cost? I feel bad and I'm sure she does too. Right now I'm kind of concentrating on not giving her too many chances to obey. If she doesn't cooperate after a warning, she goes to timeout. I want her to know I mean business. But it is all such an ordeal sometimes including tears and temper tantrums. And giving timeouts doesn't really work at bedtime or when we're trying to get out the door to preschool or something! Sadly, the thing that seems to work best is taking away her "treats" (ie no cookie after dinner). She is like her mom- doesn't want to miss out on the goodies!! :)