Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Parenting Virtue

"Patience is a virtue."  

"You can learn many things from your children.  How much patience you have, for instance." - Franklin P. Jones

Before I had kids, I thought I was the most patient person in the world.  I rarely (if ever) lost my temper.  I didn't really know how loudly I could yell.  I was the very picture of "peacemaker" - the number 9 on the Enneagram.  I was a virtuous person indeed!

Then I had my lovely children.  My darling, sweet, wonderful, creative, happy, delightful children.  My infuriating, wild, whiny, must-be-hearing-impaired, arguing children.  And I lost my cool.

Now I work very hard on being patient.  In fact, I'd say it is the primary thing I work on as a parent.  How to say things without yelling.  How to encourage without being bossy.  How to let them do things for themselves when it would be faster and easier for me to do it myself.  How to convey the importance of our rules without beating them over the head with them (figuratively, of course).

But I have some words of encouragement for myself and for other parents here.  We all struggle with this.  I've discovered that it is a universal theme among parents who give a damn about how they parent.  If you struggle with this, it means you care.  It means you are trying.  It means you have your children's best interest at heart.  Even the coolest and most-easy going of my friends have shared this struggle with me at various times.  So, soldier on, dear parents.  You are not alone in your quest for patience.  Keep fighting the good fight within yourself so that you don't fight the bad fight with your kids.


  1. Delurking to say, oh yes! I was also a patient person until my threesome appeared. Now I do know how loud I can shout, and I'm not proud of that. What has really worked for me as my kids get older (they are now 10, 8 and 5) is humour - if I can remember to use it!

  2. Every now and then my husband likes to remind me that our children will push my buttons way more than he does-- like he needs a reason to push my buttons! :) I'm going to need all my patience plus somebody else's when the day finally comes, I think.

  3. I'm glad you came out of hiding to comment, Charlotte!

    And Su, if you figure out where to borrow patience, you better share the knowledge, Girl!

  4. Oh, Megan, you are so right. All parents that care struggle with the best ways to be a good parent, whether it's patience, discipline, or even spending time with them. I don't like to yell. Sometimes crying gets the kids' attention. Sometimes whispering does the trick. My sister said, "Don't compare yourself to others. Just LOVE THEM the best that you know how."