Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Parents, Keep Your Temper!

It's funny what you think about yourself when you have kids. Before kids, you think to yourself - I'm a pretty calm, collected, patient person. I don't fly off the handle, I don't get upset over little things... and then... you have kids. You quickly realize that you are none, none, of the above.

I should probably say at this point that I am talking about myself here. Perhaps you see yourself in this situation too - but I find that everything we do is a learning experience. Positive or negative.

Character traits (middot) are undervalued. We generally value university degrees and how much money someone makes - but not our patience and understanding of others. Trying to actively change one character trait takes a lot of time and effort - it's hard, but it can be done.

It has to be done. Kids push and push to see where the limits are - which isn't a problem if you weren't already sleep deprived. When you realize where your weaknesses are - how fast you lose your temper over spilled milk (yes, it happens regularly), or how fast your patience runs out when your kid wanders out of their bedroom after you've put them there for the millionth time -- you have take the time and evaluate what you need to change.

If it's your temper, lack of patience, or something else - an evaluation of the situation has to happen. Decide on the problem to focus on and create a strategy to fix it. Children are fragile, more fragile than we realize. We take out our frustrations, as real as we believe them to be - on people who are unable to deal with them. As parents, we need to take a step back, take a breath, and realize we have a special job that no one else can step in and do for us. We need teach ourselves, and teach our kids that the right character traits will create the people we and our children want to be. We teach our kids lessons every day - brush your teeth, clean up after you play... what about the really important stuff? How to treat each other? How to empathize? How to be patient? How to keep your temper?

Just a thought.

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