Practicing Patience

What never ceases to amaze me when I work with adolescents, or when I spend time with my own kids is how easy it is for them to get us (the parents) riled up. It doesn’t take much, a little selective hearing or a little verbal jab…often done innocently…to get us reeling. Next thing we know we get frustrated, annoyed, even angry.

What I’ve noticed in myself lately is that what my kids do that sets me off is sometimes more about my wants or insecurities than it is about their disobedience. They won’t go to bed when I want some quiet time. They want something they don’t have, and in the process imply that I’m not providing well enough for them. They fight with each other when I desperately want them to get along. The list could keep going.

Of course, there are times they get me mad and it’s legitimate. However, a lot of the time the things they do are just kids being kids. Should I correct them? If it’s necessary. However, too many times my reaction is to get fired up and want to put them in their place.

What I’ve found really helpful for me whenever I get angry with my kids is to practice having patience.  I take a  breath, and do a quick mental checklist. I try to ask myself if what I’m angry about is truly worth the emotional response I’m giving it, or if my kids are playing into my own doubts and insecurities by just being kids!

It’s not easy. I’m often too quick to judge with my kids, and even with practice I fail more often than I’d like to admit. It’s easier when I think of all the times I’ve messed up, and think of our God we have who lets us make our own mistakes, and loves us regardless.

He has patience with us, and wants us to show the same with our kids.