Sunday, August 15, 2010

Patience: An Underappreciated Virtue

"I can't control the wind, but I can adjust the sails."

One of things that can cause serious frustration in life is our inability to accept the fact that we have limited control over certain things that happen to us in life. Yes, I can usually decide whether I get up at 6:00 a.m. or 6:10 a.m. or whether or not I smile to the person walking past me on the street. However, some things are simply beyond our control. Fretting and complaining about it won't change the facts.

With this in mind, although parents can have a great influence on their children, we can't control many of their choices very easily. (Tying them to their beds just isn't a viable option.) You just have to accept the fact that their attitudes toward you might evolve over time. You could almost summarize the thought life cycle of a in this way:
  • Six years old: "My dad knows all kinds of stuff, and he knows more about fishing than your dad."
  • Ten years old: "My dad knows a lot about a lot of stuff, but he can't make dinner very well."
  • Thirteen years old: "My dad? He just doesn't understand how things are today. So old fashioned."
  • Fifteen years old: "Who? My old man? He just doesn't get it. He's a control freak! When I turn 18, I'm out of here! I can live life the way I want without him breathing down my neck and trying to tell me what to do and how to live. This family sucks! It's not his call to decide on how I live my life."
  • Seventeen years old (and one day before turning 18---a legal adult where I live):  "My dad says I'll be an adult tomorrow. Hmmm . . . Why is he celebrating in his bedroom?"
  • Eighteen years old (the day after turning 18): (Banging on the locked front door) "Uh dad? Uh, I know I said I wanted to move out when I turned 18, and you so nicely packed all of my belongings in boxes and placed them outside along the curb for me . . . thanks . . . but could I stay a little longer? Oh, and I don't have $250 to pay you rent for first month. Dad? Dad? I know you're inside there." 
  • Nineteen years old: "Dad. I love you! So much! Can I have (not borrow) $50?"
  • Twenty-one years old: "My dad knows a lot about a lot of stuff, but he can't make dinner very well."
As you can see (or will see in the future), our children's feelings toward us often goes through cycles, and by accepting the fact that teenagers can be calm one minute and then can go ballistic another is a fact of life. We can't control the wind, but we can have some influence on how we (and our children) trim the sails. Having patience in the midst of any frightening storm can help us see things through.

1 comment:

  1. I think children needs to learn accepting duties litle by litle in order they can ready to live his/her life. Children are main caracter in raising process.