“Love is Patient.” 1Corinthians 13:4
“You can learn many things from children; how much patience you have, for instance.” – Franklin P. Jones
Everyone knows that parents need patience so I ‘m not writing to you of the importance of this love attribute because you’re oblivious to your need for it. I am writing to you about it because:
- You don’t know what patience is
- You often confuse it with permissiveness
Chick, sorry to say, you straight up don’t know what patience is. Now, before you get all defensive, let me clarify. You know the definition of patience:
The capacity to endure hardship, difficulty, or inconvenience without complaint; calmness, self-control, and the willingness or ability to tolerate.
What you don’t know is that patience is not an attribute or talent a person is born with like good teeth or perfect pitch. No one has patience – and this is why you’re blowing it.
It’s not your fault, poor deluded one. All your growing-up life you have been told that you are patient and, yes, as a child you were pretty good at it, but this is very similar to how Mom always said that “you have such long legs, Jay! They just go on forever!” and then you got to college and, seeing the other girls, realized that your legs were actually rather short and stumpy and you were all resentful that Mom lied to you all those years until you realized that compared to your 4’11” mother you did have long legs. Yeah, like that. Sure, you were patient when all you had to put up with were a hyper little sister and a few difficult kids at school – people you could get away from. But your own children?
Some brilliant woman once said that motherhood is like being pecked to death by chickens. The patience testing episodes don’t come in the form of an occasional rude comment or inconsiderate action or temporary invasion of space like you experienced from your peers or parents. It’s the accumulation of all the little things that never. stop. coming. Someone is always:
- Demanding something
- Creating a mess
- Breaking your stuff
- Touching, pushing, pulling at you
- Undoing your work
- Making irritating noises
Looking for ways to push your buttons
- Testing your patience
Parenting is the equivalent of a doctorate level testing of your personal character that lasts for 18 years. This process shreds every parent’s delusions of grandure – especially in the area of patience.
So, no, you don’t know what patience is because, again, you think you have it. Patience is not something you possess. Patience is a moment by moment discipline. It’s a choice. You have to find a way to give it out even when you dig down to the bottom of your emotional barrel and find that there isn’t a scrap of it left. That is love, my girl.
Now, does this mean that you have to put up with everything that the kids throw your way? No, and we’ll look at why next time.