12.01.2010

Impatience vs. Irritation

The following is an excerpt from the Catholic Heritage Curriculum newsletter.  I found the reflection helpful when dealing with impatience with my children and myself...
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"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them--every day begin the task anew."
--St. Francis de Sales

Dear Friends,

In our last survey, a commonly expressed concern was lack of patience. Some worried about their lack of patience with their children, and some expressed feelings of defeat at their own imperfections.

In this Advent-tide, as we wait patiently for the coming of the Infant King, let us examine different kinds of patience.

The first is one of joyful hope, waiting patiently and with joy for an upcoming event that we know to be good.

The second type of patience is one with less certainty of a perfectly joyful outcome, but nevertheless hopeful. In homeschooling, an example might be the day to day struggles that a child experiences while learning a subject. As adults, we know that countless repetitions are needed to master some skills; we know that, in time, John will learn. (Someone once said that "To teach John Latin, one must not only know Latin, but must also know and love John.") So with praise and encouragement for every effort, we patiently continue to teach, not looking at the gains of a week or a day and growing discouraged, but looking back over the months and years to rejoice in the very real progress that has occurred.

Then there is the "impatience" that is actually not impatience at all! Rather, it is irritation incorrectly labeled as impatience: irritation directed at our children when they knowingly and willingly do poor work or act out, when we know without a doubt that they know better.

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