We stood at the front door as he casually put his gloves on, one finger at a time. I waited. His little hands fumbled, dropping the gloves, and he unhurriedly bent down to get them and start the process all over.
I sighed loudly, looking at the clock. Time to go. Now. Or better yet, five minutes ago.
The frustration of impatience bubbled inside me, coloring my mood and attitude. How long does it take to put on gloves? Why not just put them on in the van? Why are we always running late somewhere?
Patience eluded me, as it often does in various situations with my kids. Sure, as a mom, I have a lot going on… managing people, pets, schedules, household chores, errands, work… But I’m realizing my impatience is a form of unkindness toward my children that dishonors them, the very ones I love so much.
I need an adjustment in how I think. Instead of elevating my agenda, however good it may be, to priority status, I need to elevate the value of relationships. My kids are not interruptions in the midst of whatever I need to accomplish. For the most part, raising them well is the essence of what I need to accomplish at this point in life. I need to open my eyes deliberately to really see these special, precious little ones whom God has entrusted to me for so brief a time.
After all, is it a win if we arrive somewhere almost on time, but I have wounded someone’s feelings in the process? Is it a win if we avoid making a huge mess, but I have undermined my child’s courage to try something for herself? Is it maybe a bigger win if my kids know they are respected and honored and supported within their family?
Obviously, there are times we need to just get things done, but I am finding more and more that impatience tends to take the joy right out of the day. For everyone.
Better to be kind. And maybe make some adjustments to allow for those individual quirks that drive me crazy. Maybe get more creative in dealing with discipline issues that drive me crazy. Maybe find the opposite of crazy in Christ, as I am mindful of his kindness and patience toward me.
Yes, kindness and patience go hand in hand. So here is a resolution for this new year: to extend the same kindness and honor (and even more) to my family as I extend to friends and strangers. Ironic, isn’t it, how we can sometimes act our worst with the ones we love best?