They say “Patience is a virtue.” What if patience doesn’t come? What if it doesn’t come naturally? How do we set the example for our children and those that surround us?
Today we spent some time making a gingerbread house. I have titled the event “Gingerbread Hell.” We have a plan… put the house together. Henry watches a show then we decorate. The only problem is we can’t get the house to stay together. After thirty minutes of holding the walls and roof together, Henry starts to cry because I can’t help him peel an orange and I won’t let him eat the plethora of candy sitting nearby. I am covered in frosting, hands getting tired and I feel myself begin to lose it. I notice the signs: I can’t breathe easily, my shoulders feel tight and I feel like I am about to growl or cry. I start to give in and tell Henry it is unacceptable to cry that I am the one who has been sitting here trying to put this thing together for him. But in an instant, I catch myself. I take a slow, deep breath in and out. Then a take a few more. When I feel the breath come a little bit easier, I ask Henry to try to peel his own orange and take a deep breath. He takes a breath and says, “Okay.”
My point is this. What would he learn if I spent my energy belittling what means so much to him? What would my guilt trip do? Anything positive? Most likely not. When your patience is tested, begin to notice the triggers. What sets you off? What are the first signs that you are about to lose your patience? When the negative sensations come, rather then feeding into them, why not try something new? Hopefully, thirty years down the road, Henry will pause before spouting off at his children and take a breath finding his center once again. All I can hope is that I can set the example for him and others around me so one day they will carry this patience forward. After all, the only way we truly teach is by example.