Some days I feel like a broken record. Over and over again, I say the same things. Over and over again, I fight the same battles with my kids.
"Pick up your stuff."
"Do your homework."
"Be kind to your sister."
"Do your chores."
It seems the litany never ends. And I wonder, will my girls ever get it? Will they ever become productive members of society? Will they ever learn the things they need to learn to survive on their own in this world? Will there ever be a day that I don't have to remind them of the basics?
As weary as I am of saying the same things over and over, I'm reminded that patience is part of being a parent. And it may be the best tool in our parenting toolbox. Patience lets us teach the same thing over and over again. Patience lets us focus on teaching our kids and not on being frustrated with them. Patience keeps us talking about the same topics over and over again when we want to pull out our hair. Patience keeps our kids listening.
And I'm reminded that patience is God's fall-back position with us. I know God must spend a lot of time shaking His head, looking at me, saying "When will she ever get it?" Yet, God waits for us. He waits patiently for us to follow His plan, not our own. He waits patiently for us to quit holding tightly to the things of this world so that we can see the blessings He has for us. He waits patiently for us to follow Him. 2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." God patiently waits.
And that's a cue that we should take from God. When we're struggling to hold onto our patience, we need to remember that God is patient with us. He patiently waits for us to come to Him. Oh, that doesn't mean He doesn't try to get our attention, but He waits for us. And that's what we need to do with our kids. We need to patiently wait for them. Sure, it's our job to teach them, to discipline them, to love them, and to mold their character, but it's also our job to be patient with them.
Growing up is a process. It doesn't happen overnight. Responsibility comes with consistent teaching. Even when our kids fail, they are learning. That learning process doesn't happen when we are impatient.
So, the next time you want to pull your hair out strand by strand as you repeat yourself for 800, 437, 512th time, remember that God is patient with you, and patience may be the best thing you can give your kids.