Tonight the ornaments go on the tree. The girls have talked about it all day long. There is no concept of time. You know what I mean, moms of young ones! Every five minutes one may ask, “So is it time yet?”
This isn’t all bad. The wonderful anticipation they show makes my heart happy, in the midst of testing my own patience! This is what it is to be a child. It is glorious.
I am pretty sure patience isn’t something that comes naturally. We aren’t born with it. There’s the crying baby wanting to feed even though he’s been fed ten minutes before, the toddler snatching a toy when it’s not her turn, the school age kids begging their turn for the electronics, the teenager who insists they are old enough already. Patience isn’t something that will just come unless it’s taught…
And unless it’s practiced.
Patience is a great necessity to our own peace of mind, happiness of heart, and love to others around us. We can only come to this revelation when we cease to live for ourselves, and choose to live with the desire to demonstrate to others what we want demonstrated to us. Simply, and nothing new, “The Golden Rule.”
I’ve been a mother now for almost half my life. That doesn’t give me much credentials for writing about parenting I suppose, but it has given me plenty of opportunity to blow it; and plenty of grocery store, play dates, park trips, and Wal-Mart shopping times to witness impatience from mother to child.
No one told me before I had my first child how much patience would be needed. No one told me that to be a good mom wasn’t about whether I nursed or did formula, whether I homeschooled, public schooled, or private schooled. No one told me it really had nothing to do with whether I could provide in abundance for my children or whether I could make amazing school lunches.
But I wish someone had told me.
I wish someone had said, “If there is one way to truly love your child it’s developing patience in your life in such a way that nothing that your child does, says, or behaves can take away your peace of mind and loving response in return.”
I know, right now we’re all thinking of those things that our children do that don’t “deserve” patience. I’m not saying we don’t teach our children good and right behavior, I merely know that when we do teach in these circumstance that if patience is not demonstrated, our children’s hearts will be wounded. Our goal should never be to just deal with their outward behavior, but to go deeper then that in our instructing them of right and wrong and demonstrate to them behavior that we want to see mirrored back to us, even in the trying times.
Behavior is about the heart, not about our image, reputation or how we feel. Our children will know the difference between whether we teach them in patience because we want them to have hearts that live out of love, and whether we are just after them straightening up because their actions embarrass us or make life uncomfortable.
I had three boys in nearly three years. Before this season in my life I would have never considered myself an impatient person! These adorable three little blonde boys brought out of me all the impatience I suppose had been stored up all previous years before their existence! I can laugh now – at all the crazy incidences, all those crazy days.
But they were my teachers. They showed me, taught me, stretched me and made me stronger by demonstrating that how I responded to them, they would respond to others. They were a daily reflection of my heart. They proved to me more than anything else that patience, more than any other attribute, was what I wanted as a parent — and ultimately what they needed from me.
This Christmas as we give to our children out of the blessing that God has given us, may we remember that there are few gifts our children may remember even a few months from now. But I can promise, a grown child will never forget the patient love of a mother. It is a gift that must be practiced, understood, desired, and dare I say, even fought for in our hearts. I believe it is one of the best gifts ever that a mother can give.
On another note, a big “Thank You” to all who came out to our Sample Sales this past week in Homewood! Spring season will be coming soon and we can’t wait to show you what we have for your boys and girls this season so don’t forget to keep up with our Facebook and website! We believe it’s our best yet!
For Hannah Kate