Yesterday, we started our Character Study back up. I had found free printables a few years ago and thought they’d be an excellent addition to our school day. We could learn about one positive character trait every week or so and memorize a Bible verse that correlates.
Well, that only lasted about three weeks. I forgot to change out the character trait, so I kept saying “well, we’ll study this same one a little longer.” AND, I was not exactly working to incorporate the trait into my own daily life…which made it even less of a priority. The study quickly fell off the radar.
After seeing some major bad attitudes from the kids (and myself!) the past few weeks, I decided we should start the study again. And this time, I told myself, I would work to make sure I was displaying these attributes as well. Since we seem to have extremely short fuses around here, I chose Patience as our first study.
Yikes! Talk about conviction!!
We sat down to talk about it yesterday, and after reading the definition the kids did not appear to completely understand what it meant. The definition is “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.” I could tell that, for sure, the boys (ages 3 and 5) did not get it. The girls seemed a little unsure, too. So, I thought we’d give some examples.
“When we are waiting for the bathroom and we are banging on the door and jiggling the handle and yelling at the person using it……is that patient or impatient?”
Ok, so they totally understood. 😉
But then our examples got to be a little too personal for me. And we were describing MY talk when I am trying to get everyone out the door. Or when I am putting them to bed. Or when we need to sit down for group school work.
Nameless child: “What about when you are yelling at us to hurry and get our shoes on? Or when you tell us something one time and then start yelling?”
Whoa. That was a bit eye-opening. I sound AWFUL when I am in a hurry (and not even in a hurry for a serious reason – just because I want to be in a hurry). The kids thought it was a funny exercise, but I was quite ashamed. Almost embarrassed in front of them. We talked for a while and discussed the correct way to respond to people and situations and what actions we could take that day to be more patient.
And then we went grocery shopping.
(I could probably end the post there because I know you moms understand the amount of patience needed to shop with children. And not just walk through the store and grab items, but when we need to price compare and figure out our coupon situation and cross off list items and figure out where the sale item is when it is not in the normal spot.)
Why does mom always have to be the one to lead with the correct attitude and reaction?! Why can’t the kids just do the right thing while mom acts impatient and sulks? 🙂 It was a rough shopping trip, I must say. I did catch myself several times before I said something snippy or sarcastic to the kids, but I still failed multiple times with the rest of my patience attempts. The one thing that was different was at the end of the trip – we were all in the car driving home, and one by one the kids apologized for their bad behavior. And then I apologized for losing it on them. They weren’t even that bad in the store; it just wasn’t what I expected out of them. That tends to amplify the slightest misbehavior in my eyes.
While our actual shopping time was just awful (as far as my actions towards them), we did make up in the car pretty quickly….which is new for us. We will be reviewing Patience again today, and I am a little nervous at the opportunities God is going to bring for us to practice using patience! I am praying we tackle it much better than yesterday. And I am thankful for the turnaround time in making things right with each other. Baby steps, right?
As much as the Character Study really shines a light on our (ok, mostly MY) flaws, we should probably keep it around and see how much we can grow from it!
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”