Not many parenting challenges match the one to simply be patient. What is it about our children’s questions, slow pace or insistence on having an opinion that drives us to snap? Given a moment to consider their perspective, we usually find it reasonable and our reaction less so. Yet, in the heat of the moment, snap we do. Pressured by a hectic pace and multiple demands on our moments, we just want our children to do what we say now. Is patience overrated?
The other morning, my daughter came down the stairs as I was making breakfast and offered to help. She’s still at the stage where her help tends to make the process slower and more incident-infused, but I said, “Sure.” As we broke eggs, she began telling a long, complicated story. I have to admit, there are too many mornings her focus on her story rather than whisking the eggs would have had me urging her to work rather than talk. Instead, this morning I simply listened.
As the story unfolded, she began sharing how some of the changes our family is facing worried her. She started asking some pretty serious questions. The conversation turned to an exploration of different options we could try and me offering reassurances about her deepest concerns. Who knew all this was lurking behind sleepy eyes and bedhead?
I was able to learn what was going on in her head only because of patience. Had I impatiently urged her to hurry, the eggs would have been cooked, breakfast served and the day started. I would have considered that progress. But I would have unknowingly forced her to bury her worries and missed my chance to ease her through them. I would have missed the chance to know her better.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.