It's that time of year again. The time when we're all promising to be better parents, friends, wives, husbands, co-workers etc.
We all want to be better. The problem is the "how". How do we be better parents, friends, etc?
Today, I want to talk about being better parents. In particular, how to be a more patient parent.
Patience is not one of my virtues. I'm the crazy woman honking her horn at the little old lady who is going 5 mph under the speed limit. I'm the one checking my watch and tapping my foot when the doctor is running behind schedule. I'm impatient with most people but I'm terribly impatient with my family. And stress directly impacts my impatience. When I'm stressed, I tend to explode on my family and every little thing just seems bigger. I tend to get busy and stressed and then I run behind and I'm barking orders at my daughter to hurry up so we can still be on time.
I hate when I act like that. I don't want to be that parent. Busy all the time, in a hurry all the time. I want her to have fond memories of her childhood.
Because of that I'm really trying hard to work on my patience. I think I've found a little secret. I'm not sure it's a cure, but it is helping.
I've started this routine where I sneak into my daughter's room at night after she's fallen asleep and I just stare. I just stand there in the dark and I watch her. I watch her little eyes twitch behind her eyelids as she's dreaming. I watch her chest move up and down in slow, steady breaths.
What I've noticed as I'm standing there watching her is that my breath and my heart starts to quicken but not in a hurried or stressful way. It quickens because I'm watching something amazing. And in those moments, it doesn't matter that there are toys strewn around my house and stuffed animals lining my stairs and crumbs in my couch cushions. It doesn't matter that I haven't gone to the bathroom in private in almost 5 years. It doesn't matter that she couldn't sit still during her lessons today. It doesn't matter that my car smells of old food. None of that matters.
I'm witnessing a miracle. My heart quickens because I am instantly aware of how thankful I am. I am instantly aware that God has heard my prayer for a child and that He continues to hear the little prayers I pray every day for patience and peace.
I love my daughter and I know that I am a better, more patient parent when I stop to remember that.
And I think it may just make the world a better place if other parents would take the time to do the same.
Today, take the time to stop and really observe your children. It's best to do this when they are asleep and not covered in food, but really any time will do. And really stop. Don't just observe them on the way to your next appointment or obligation. Really stop and really observe them. And then be thankful.
You can read more about how to experience patience here.
Kerry Todd is married to her best friend, Denny, and has one daughter, Alivea. She is passionate about missions and about orphans and she loves watching the church be the church. She and her husband have adopted one daughter and are in the process of adopting another child. She writes at my life (his mission) all about how God has wrecked her heart for the orphan and how she has found new life in the midst of infertility. You can keep up with all of her craziness on her blog, facebook, and twitter.
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