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Having Patience - Live life with your kids - Issue 059
June 20, 2008
Hi there! ....

This week:

We have begun a season of less structured days as we focus on creative projects for the local Agricultural Show. The children have opportunity to display their handiwork in a large community pavilion. The girls are mainly working on stitching and doll making while the boys have been wood-working, a new skill for them. Though these creative projects are our priority we still get about 1 hour of table time where we focus on the most important academic skill for each child. The older three have been working on a persuasive speech for their Speak Up lessons and Daniel has worked on his reading lessons. I used to stress over these weeks, worrying about the lack of paper-learning but now as I see our year as a collection of seasons I can relax and enjoy the creativity and relationship building activities of this time.

Live life with my kids!

Character Notes for Mum

Accepting a difficult situation
without giving a deadline to remove it.

- Character First,
Education Series II

I asked my children to put words to the feelings they have when they are not being patient; frustrated, annoyed, cranky, cross, irritated, upset, and discouraged. I am sure there are many other synonyms but I was pleased with this list because I knew the exact situations they were talking about – their answers were real! We, as mums, need to be real too. What do you feel when you lack patience?

Patience is strongly connected to the reaction of anger . The scripture that reminds us

The wrath of man does not produce
the righteousness of God.

- James 1: 20

We will not become, neither will our children become, all that we want if we use anger to get there. When I studied anger I was challenged with the fact that the tiniest annoyance towards my children was anger, low-level anger, but anger none the less. Patience is much the same – a roll of the eyes, a long outdrawn sigh, and sarcasm are all expressions of impatience. We need to overcome these expressions and live with patience towards our children.

While the children and I discussed the issues of patience I came up with this to-do list as a prompt to help us all monitor our responses. I have made a poster for our Reminder Wall.

When I feel Annoyed
I need to stop and think patience

Recognise the difficult situation
Consider my priority
Decide to change myself

I love catch phrases like this. When I see impatience starting to raise its ugly head I say to my children (or myself) “Stop and think Patience”. The rest of the motto gives my thoughts more wholesome direction.

I think we all know the times we feel impatient towards our children. Each child provokes different reactions and levels of these feelings. Stop and think Patience!

Though we may recognize the feeling of impatience do we really know what is causing the difficult situation? We need to diagnose what is really going on here. I am not impatient so much with the child’s being but their actions – or lack thereof! The difficult situation is that the child won’t be quick, the child won’t remember what it was told, the child won’t focus and so forth. Recongise the difficult situation!

Our reactions of impatience are often based on out of whack priorities – we consider that getting the math lesson done, completing the chores, getting out the door is our priority at that time. But the Scriptures say otherwise.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength
and with all your mind; and,
Love your neighbor as yourself.

Luke 10:27

That is our God-given priority; Relationship - relationship with God, relationship with my children, relationship with this frustrating person (or rather this person who is doing a frustrating thing!) How ever I react to this situation is going to have an impact on my relationship – I must tread wisely. Consider my priority!

The thing with our children is that so often the things that we are frustrated with are the things that we have not been consistent and diligent with in the training phase. In our impatience (to remove their childishness) we expect them to behave in such a way and when they don’t we accuse and attack them, showing them our disappointment and frustration. One of the hardest pills to swallow as a parent is if our children are not acting responsibly or appropriately, our training is not done! We need to pull in the boundaries, and pull out the training plan! Yes, something needs to change in these situations where impatience is being expressed but is it the children that need to change or is it me? Do I need to check my reaction or is it more a case of increasing my training efforts? Decide to change myself!

Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter I know homeschool mums are busy with lots to read, so I have divided my newsletter into four sections and you will receive one section a week; short but regular newsletters!
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