I thought I was patient until I had kids. If you had asked me 10 years ago what my strongest Quality was, I would have answered “my patience“! However once you have kids you discover that you are much less patient than you think you are. Oh, you think you’re a loving, patient, sweet peach of man. So you plan to be the guy playing catch for hours and carefully instructing your son how to ride his bike. You’ll never get short with your kids and you’ll always know the perfect balance between discipline and love. Right!
Keep dreaming, my friend. There’s nothing like a child or two or three in your midst to bring out your selfishness, anger, and impatience. Be prepared for this! And of course, be ready to ask God and your family to forgive you when you and your lack of patience offends your kids or wife! Because it will happen.
“Patience is a virtue.” so goes the cliché, and Galatians 5:22-23 classifies it as a fruit of the Spirit. So there’s no disputing that the Christian ought to be patient, therefore the Christian father.
To be patient is to endure discomfort without complaint. This calls into play some other virtues, specifically, self-control, humility, and generosity. Therefore patience is a complex of many virtues.
I can tell you three different ways to be patient with your children. I hope every father take this to heart.
The first type of patience that you need as a father is when you face a nuisance of some kind. Your little prodigy really irritated you doing something and you would love to complain about it, but you hold your tongue. You do this because you know that it would be petty to complain about the problem. Your child is being annoying but he or she doesn’t mean to pester you. Anyhow, what good will it do to complain about those toys that he left all over the living room? So you quietly suffer these things. Do you know you were being virtuous in doing so?
The second kind of patience is found in boredom. Let me explain! Many parents fall into a rut at home with the kids and often experience boredom over the uneventful routines. For many parents, that seems absurd! But there are many moms and dads that endure the daily grind of parenting without complaining, therefore being patient.
The third form of patience it the most difficult and noteworthy. This is the patience that comes by means of illness or suffering. You may be the one that is sick or you may be the one caring for a child who is sick. If you’re struggling with some disease or illness, then patience is required of you. Or if you must assist a child who suffers, then you are called upon to be patient. Whether you bear the burden of affliction directly or indirectly, your challenge is to endure that discomfort. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cry out in your distress. Scripture, in fact, advises us to do just that, so it’s appropriate!
So, understanding that Patience is a virtue and a difficult one at that and that we will be tested every day, we need to learn to react appropriately so we don’t sin against out families. Every time your child doesn’t follow through, every time he does something annoying, every time he asks you the same question over and over, and every time they wake you up when you would rather sleep we must remember that God is using these difficult situations to make us more like Jesus.
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