Today my kids taught me two lessons in patience.
Lesson one: People have to have their own timetable to accomplish a goal.
My girls and I took a walk today. It was to our stop sign. I can walk to it and back in under 5 minutes. On our walk today it took thirty minutes. I walked. The girls all took a different vehicle. My youngest in our leg powered toy car. Second daughter on the Dora big wheel. And my oldest daughter on her training wheeled bike. I kept trying to get the girls to turn around, but they were determined to get to the stop sign and back.
My youngest daughter’s little legs just kept going, with a few curb checks that I would help her off of. The toy car has no steering. My second daughter is just learning how to peddle; she would get a few revolutions of the wheel before she would ask for a little push. Of course there were birds, and cars, and bugs, and new houses to talk about. “They worken,” my youngest would point out as we sat in front of one of the new houses being built.
After the seventh time trying to get the girls to turn around I just settled in for the walk. My oldest daughter actually adventured to the next stop sign, waving all the way back to us, proud as can be riding on her own. I thought that the girls would tire out, and I would have to push them back, but their little legs never ran out of energy. They were focused on the walk, unconcerned about how long it took. They were going to do this and they did.
But I had to have patience to let them do it on their own. I could have hurried them, pushed them, made them feel my impatience and ruin the 30 minutes we had together.
I didn’t start out so well with the lesson my boys had for me later in the day.
Lesson two: We can’t take for granted people will “just know” how to do something.
Later in the day the boys got to mow the lawn. Both of them have mowed the lawn before but not for about two years. First, I like to mow the lawn. So, mowing the lawn has not been a part of their normal chore routine. Second, I don’t remember the first time I had to mow a lawn.
I went over the pointers of running the mower, and hit the grass around the house and outside edge of the lawn. I though this would help them start on their route of mowing. Sadly, I wasn’t patient right away. The boys took turns, but both of them mowed the same way– crazily.
Rounded corners, lines of tall grass, mowing the short length of the yard 12 times instead of turning the mower and hitting the grass in two passes. I bet I did the same thing once, but I can’t remember. I’ve been mowing so long that it is just second nature to mow in an efficient way. Before I totally lost my cool, I caught the lesson. The boys didn’t know how to mow a lawn quickly and efficiently. It was my job to show them. Most importantly to do it without making them feel bad. All the grass was cut, even if it took extra passes. But by keeping my cool the boys finished the job on a positive note. Even laughing at the rows of long grass they had made.
Today my kids reminded me about the importance of patience in two separate ways. My girls showed me that people need their own pace to accomplish their goals. I was truly amazed at their strength and attitude. My boys reminded me that everyone has that first time with learning. The important part for me was not making that crucial moment negative. To be patient with them as they learn.
What cool lessons have you learned lately?