Have you ever asked God for more patience with people, in situations or in life? I have. And then I had kids. Now I am constantly asking for more patience, every 5 minutes, sometimes on the brink of insanity (because no matter how much you’ve planned, organized and prepped yourself, kids will always push you farther). “Ask and it shall be given”, right? Well also, “Be careful what you ask for.”
The one area that I ask for patience, grace and mercy the most (for myself so that I can also reflect it out to them) is in giving instructions and having my children listen to me. I don’t expect blind obedience (most of the time), but some acknowledgment would be nice and some timely action. But kids work in their own time frame, at their own speed (sometimes the speed we all should be enjoying life at) and cajoling just doesn’t work.
I recently read an parenting tip from Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, authors of the book Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character In You and Your Kids, that really gave me a new perspective about Giving Instructions. It is interesting how your perspective on a situation can help you have more patience, grace and mercy for any situation.
From the Biblical Parenting Tip newsletter:
The word “instruction” comes from the words “in” and “structure” and basically means “to put structure into.” When someone comes on the scene and gives instructions, that person brings structure to the situation and helps people know what to do. Dad or Mom sees the need to clean up around the house or get ready to go out and begins giving instructions to move the family in a positive direction.
The parent adds the structure needed at the moment to make family life work. Unfortunately, because of the well-worn relationship between parent and child, kids may react with resistance. At that point parents often become more intense in their instruction or just give up. What was meant to be a move toward order and structure has turned relationships into chaos.
Remember that you’re not giving instructions just to make your life easier. You’re bringing the much-needed structure into the situation. If you don’t provide the structure, who will? … Without instruction, family life falls apart. … continue to work on your own attitude and frustration level, but hang in there and keep giving the much-needed structure to your family.
Proverbs 19:16 says, ‘He who obeys instructions guards his life.’
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