Being a parent is a great joy, full of wonderful moments and responsibility we are grateful for; and parenting is also a long exercise in patience.
All of us fail at staying composed, now and again, we lack the perseverance needed, and we lose our temper or our cool. When our endurance fails and the final piece of straw breaks the camel’s back, we lose patience with our children, the circumstances, ourselves or just life as it is.
St Paul wrote this in a letter to the Romans, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
I am sure he was not talking directly to parenting as we conceive of it today, but I like that he connects patience with hope. Hope is found in God. It is a theological way of relating simply to what is as it is. Hope is an interior awareness that we are not alone in any situation that is asking a lot of us.
In the moment of a strong feeling of impatience, compassion is needed. One teacher said it this way, “Parents need a lot of self- compassion.” She went on to say, “Become your own compassion coach. Slow the moment down by interiorly parenting yourself first.” Then she gave an example, “You could say, of course you are feeling impatient, you just spent 45 minutes trying to get your toddler to eat while the Kindergartner was throwing a temper tantrum. Breathe. Be kind to yourself for a moment.”
Patience grows in us as compassion grows. During the impatient moment, compassion can encompass ourselves, the others and the circumstances just as they are. Compassion causes us to slow down our reaction and even become more creative.
Compassion is another name for God. The one who joins us in the daily passion of our lives. The Compassionate One can speak to you in an instant when you simple lean back into a heart that is loving you in every moment.
I think that is why older folk are such a help to younger folk, they have learned to be more compassionate with themselves, others and life.
We all experience impatience. As Christians, we also hope in more than ourselves at work in any moment. God is outreaching compassion. When we lose it, God can help us move forward with compassion for all and grow together in faith
With you on the journey,