Teach your kids how to be patient!

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As moms, we want what’s best for our families. We want our kids to be healthy and to succeed. We dream of homes that or organized or at least the clutter is in piles to be dealt with later. If we’re homeschooling or working, we want to do a good job there, too. But what if our efforts to make all of those things happen is exactly what’s driving our impatience with our kids?

Have you ever gotten angry or impatient with you kids because they procrastinated, moved too slow or needed you to repeat the directions too many times? You’re not alone if you’ve lost your cool because your kids were moving at the slower, clumsier speed that kids tend to go?

 Com’on honey , I taught you how to tie your shoes two months ago. I know that you’re only five, but is that the fastest you can do it? Hurry up, we’ve got to go!

You aren’t dressed, YET?! We’re going to be late to school!

(I’m sure there is a scientific study out there to prove that most kids do not want to wake up for school. So, why do we keep yelling at Sienna or Sam because they can’t get from bed to buttoned-up in two minutes flat? This isn’t a question to parent-shame, only to challenge our expectations and our responses.)

Here’s the thing: Kids are a lot like a kitchen remodel. Anything that they do will always take three times as long, go twice as slow and cost twice as much.

If you’re like me, you’ve prayed God, give me patience way more than you can remember. I lost my cool at times, too. We don’t want to be grumpy or cranky with our kids. So, what’s secret sauce to patience? I discovered it a few years ago and this a-ha moment transformed my life and it can transform your life, too.

My patience ah-ha moment came to me after a job transition.  At the same time, we were going through a family crisis. The combination of those two events forced me to cut way back on my commitments and spend most all of my time at home. Then something pretty fabulous happened in the midst of a lot of hardache. Since the number of obligations on my schedule dropped dramatically, I realized that I’d stopped yelling at the kids to “hurry up” or felt frustrated because they asked questions (like kids to!)

All of the sudden, I felt like a more patient mom. Not because of my kids supernatually started moving fasting, but because I was finally moving slower.

For many years, I had so much on my to-do list that my priorities undermined all of my prayers asking God for patience. It’s nearly impossible to be patient when we’ve got so much pressuring our hearts and minds each day.

I love the wisdom that Dallas Willard shared in John Ortberg’s book, Soulkeeping: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Hurry is when our minds are racing from one thing to the next. It’s when you don’t have a moment to spare for anything to go wrong or move less than 100mph. 

Can you see where that’s not fair to our kids? They aren’t the ones filling your schedule. Yet, when we’re in a hurry, we’re more likely to rush by what they need. We don’t have time to observe, listen or just show love in a way that means most to them. Worst of all, we just might be too impatient to really see what’s happening in their hearts.   

The secet sauce to patience with our kids is to take the pressure off our schedule.

Eliminating hurry in my life meant that I had to get ruthlessly clear about my “yeses” and “no’s.” I had to set boundaries and learn how to be okay with diappointing people. Most of all, I had to trust God’s promises that as I say more “no’s” than “yes’s” that God will take are of my business so that I could be present and attentive to my kids. Here’s some of my ways that I’ve learned to say “no”:

I’m so flattered that you’ve asked. Thank you for thinking of me. Right now, my schedule is maxed so I’m going to have to miss out on what you’ve offered.

I love this! I love that you asked me. Right now, I can’t. Life is so full already, so  I need keep a simple schedule to I don’t get stressed out.

One scheduling strategy that I use is to schedule appointments or requests for meetings/coffee on one day per week. I keep 2-3 spots on that one day per week and that keeps me from overscheduling.

This means that I don’t attend most of the cool-kid places around town and my face is missing from the photos at cool events. And I’ve learned to be okay with that because I don’t have hurry in my life. 

The payoff is worth it! I love knowing that I am a more patient mom. My girls are all grown up now and live in different states. Yet, they will need a mom who can be available to talk on their schedule. They need a mom who has time to pray about the difficult circumstances in their lives and to pray over the choices they’re considering.

Do you want to be a more patient mom? When are the times that you struggle to be patient with your kids?

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