Most moms struggle with patience. I am no exception and I boldly confessed that weakness in The Passionate Mom. I have studied, prayed and diligently tried to master patience. I have even turned to quotes from wise sages for inspiration as you can see below. If you struggle with patience too, you can consider this a leg up on your research. Feel free to copy my homework about why I need to grow patience.
1. Patience will make you wiser.
“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” —Augustine
Impatience has led me to make unwise parenting decisions. For example, I have often chosen to rescue my kids rather than patiently watch them fail. My children, in return, learned how to use this to their advantage. The scene would play out like this: One of my kids would have a paper or project, and sit there stumped. Soon it would get late, and I would get impatient and frustrated with the time. Finally, I’d jump in to help. Maybe even more than help. Definitely more than help. My impatience interfered with a lesson my son or daughter needed to learn. I should have let my child fail. Then he or she would have learned to work at it a little harder. Wisdom dictates that I discipline myself and patiently let my child work it out rather than jump to the rescue. (click to tweet)
2. Patience will calm conflict.
“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” —Proverbs 15:18
I can be hot-tempered, and it has stirred up conflict in my home. Actually, my temper is more quirky than hot. I can let a lot roll off my shoulders, and then I hit a wall. When that happens, my patience evaporates and my temper goes from a comfortable 72 degrees to 110 in seconds flat. At other times my patience is like my car keys—I lose it often, and then I find it in the strangest places. I can lose my patience over a dozen silly things and then be super patient with something else. The regrettable reality is that many times I have created stress in my home over things that could have been settled more efficiently with patient words and a calm, objective demeanor. It causes me great pain to think about that.
3. Patience will circumvent sorrow.
“If you are patient in a moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.” —Chinese proverb
Even as I write this, I am amazed and ashamed that I am not better at being patient. Just today, one of my children successfully pushed a button that sent my husband and me into an impatient exchange of words. Looking back, I think the child knew exactly what he was doing, and we didn’t. Children learn how to work their parents. This is especially true of younger siblings who get the benefit of watching their older brothers and sisters succeed and fail in their efforts to sway their parents.
My child read me today, made some innate calculations, and gambled that this would be a good time to get his way. He knew I was wearing thin on the subject at hand, and that if I lost my patience, he might succeed. Well, he did succeed with me; however, his father overheard the exchange and interceded by overriding me and vetoing my son’s proposal. My son, knowing he was halfway there, did not give up. The result was a three-way discussion that, as I said, ended in an impatient exchange between my husband and me—in front of my child.
Children learn from watching us—for good or for bad. We must model the virtues we want to instill. If we don’t, the exact opposite will occur. If they watch us enough times, we will be watching them lose their patience for hundreds of days to come, and that will bring much sorrow.