Part of being a parent is having patience with your child(ren). This of course is not always easy, because children can be, shall I say, frustrating at times. I was reminded of this last weekend with my three year old daughter. The frustration occurred, not once, but twice on the same day!
The first instance of frustration came while she and her one year old sister were riding in her battery operated Barbie Jeep. (A gift from Santa this past Christmas.) She has driven the jeep many times since Christmas and has gotten better over time. However, one skill has seemed to elude her . . . steering! No matter how hard I have tried, (and believe me, I’ve tried plenty enough!), she just can’t seem to get a handle on the concept of steering. She seems to think, as long as her hands are firmly on the steering wheel she’s doing all she needs to do.
I, like a good parent, have instructed her numerous of times that she needs not only to grip the steering wheel, but also to turn it one way or the other in order to steer it. Yet, no matter how many times I tell her and no matter how many times I show her how to do, she inevitably runs headlong into the nearest tree, or shrub, or parked vehicle! My poor one year old daughter, who is always in the passenger seat, has been covered more than once with leaves and sticks falling onto her head from some just rammed bush!
I admit, it is frustrating. I finally just let her go, either to continue ramming defenseless shrubbery or to simply go around and around in circles.
The second occurrence of frustration happened later that day at her second (ever) tee ball practice. (The first tee ball practice started well enough, with her tossing the ball with another little girl, but ended with crying and chants of, “But, I don’t want to play baseball!”) The second practice really had no good part to it! The whole time, even though she had promised it would never ever happen again, was spent with crying and placing herself behind me so as not to be seen by the other players.
I must confess something at this point: she gets her shyness from her father. I never liked playing with kids I didn’t know either. I never liked for people to be watching me do something, like practice throwing a baseball or batting. So, I understand it. Yet, it still frustrated me. I suppose I was hoping she would come out of her shell and by socially interactive. So far, this has not happened.
It is easy to become frustrated with our kids at times. Maybe it is because we place unreal expectations upon their little shoulders. Maybe it is because we want them to be more like us and not so much their own unique person. Or, maybe it is because we want them to rise above our insecurities and shortfalls. Or, it may be for many other reasons.
Parenting is definitely a learning experience for me. It has taught me the importance of patience and grace.
Saturday, I finally had to remind myself that she is only three. The fact she doesn’t steer her jeep, or she didn’t jump right into the mix in tee ball, really, in the big scheme of things, is not a big deal. Hey Dad, just take a breath and chill a little!
It also reminded me of those many Old Testament passages that speak of the patience and long-suffering of God. I’m thankful God is patient with me. I’m glad his fuse isn’t short. I’m glad he doesn’t blow his top over the least little thing. I’m glad his patience is immense. I’m glad . . . well, in short, I’m glad he’s not like me! And it teaches me, I need to be a lot more like him.
“Love is patient and kind . . .” (1 Cor. 13:4)