Opportunities to walk in patience present themselves…well, often. I think this character trait is the hardest, because it represents the biggest battle between their flesh and our own. So many times when I find myself impatient I feel like they are getting in my way or they are messing with my agenda. Let me tell you, I don’t like to have my agenda messed with! I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Oh, wait. Maybe that is exactly what my children are expressing when they go against my wishes. So who will win?? Or who should win? The hard to swallow but right answer is the kid. Now don’t get me wrong, we should not allow them to make all the decisions and run the show. What I am saying is that a C13 Mom will take a detour from her own agenda to take the time to listen, teach and show.
When I feel my level of patience rapidly disappearing, my husband gently reminds me, “Don’t get mad, get even.” Of course he isn’t telling me to go on a tirade and retaliate. He is reminding me to get a game plan. There is no need, or should I say, no benefit to getting impatient or frustrated. He reminds me, “You are the parent-you are in charge. Act like it. Be PROACTIVE.”
I think one of the keys to maintaining a patient attitude is to be proactive. Most importantly be proactive with your time. Kids are SLOW and have no concept of time. They have this amazing ability to live in the moment and enjoy life. They aren’t worried if we are 10 minutes late or if the living room is picked up before company comes. They love life and want to live it to its fullest. In all reality we should be a little bit more like them, but until we figure that out, there are things that we can do as we work towards that goal.
When you are trying to get everyone out the door and someone is lagging behind, instead of yelling at them to be faster, walk in patience. Help them find their missing shoe. Help them put their jacket on. If you are proactive and get the diaper bag ready the night before, then you won’t have to run around finding the missing items. Start to leave at least 15 minutes (or 1 hour! ) before you actually have to walk out the door so that you have time to work through all the mishaps that might occur. Make that “will occur.” Have a shoe bin that you train your kids to put their shoes in when they walk into the house. Get the idea?
When they have asked you for the 100th time what we are going to do today, tell them. Instead of getting impatient with them, make them a list made of words or pictures that will explain the day’s progression. Be proactive and tell them the next 2-3 things you are going to do. A lot of kids can’t handle suspense. The unknown is scary. Help ease their fears and give them some idea of what they are going to face for the day. When they ask you again what the game plan is for the day, remind them that you already told them and see if they can remember the list. Make it a game. When plans change, like they often do, let them know. “I know I said we were going to do such and such but something came up and we are going to do this instead.” Kids can handle change well, if they know about it.
These are just two examples of how to walk in patience. There are many more examples. What are ways that you try to be proactive to keep your patience level intact?
Here are this week’s tasks. Remember change happens when we DO something about it.
1.) Pick a new memory verse to memorize this week on patience
2.) Look back at your list that you wrote last week. Review the situations that tested your patience level. Then when you have a second, come up with a game plan on how to be proactive the next time a similar opportunity presents itself.