“Do I look stupid?” snarled Uncle Vernon, a bit of fried egg dangling from his bushy mustache. (from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling)
“Mommy, I want some milk.”
“Okay, just a minute.”
No, Mommy, I want some miiiilk!”
“I’ll get it for you in just a minute.”
“Mommy, Pweeease! I want MIIIIILK.”
“Benjamin, I said just. a. minute.”
“I WANT SOME MIIIIIIIIIIIILK!!!!!!!”
“BE PATIENT!!!!!! I’m getting it!”
Hmmmm. Did I just yell, “Be patient!” at my two-year-old? Sometimes it’s the things you see plain as day in someone else that are huge hidden problems for yourself. Or, as my dad used to say, “The smeller’s the feller.” Uncle Vernon is, of course, stupid. But he doesn’t ever see the egg on his own face. I am impatient. But here I’m trying to pound the virtue into my son by yelling? Oh, my. How can I teach him patience when I am so impatient?
Ah, I must learn it myself.
It is a great gift of motherhood that it gives you a reason to finally fix your faults before you pass them on. I have never been more motivated to improve myself, to be worth imitating, to teach well. I want my son to grow in strength of compassion, empathy for others, kindness, forgiveness, resilience, and patience. So I have to stop being judgmental, start putting myself in others’ shoes, showing uncommon kindness. I have to be so quick to forgive and so slow to anger. I have to try again when I fail and do it with a smile. I have to slow down and have patience.