I’ve begun working on my personal patience plan and even shared my goal of developing patience with the rest of the family at Family Home Evening on Monday. (I figured I needed a little accountability.)
Well, this morning I had a learning opportunity. I was tidying up the kitchen and putting away a small plastic container when I noticed that someone had apparently unloaded the dishwasher and tossed all the plastic containers and lids willy nilly onto the shelf of the turntable where they are supposed to be neatly sorted and stacked. Grrrr!
Beans informed me that it was Loula Belle – which was the same conclusion I had drawn, as she was the last one to unload the dishwasher. Double Grrrr!
"Loula Belle!" I yelled, "you tossed the plastic things in here and didn’t put them where they’re supposed to go! Get over here and . . ."
That’s when I stopped, realizing that I was yelling and not practicing patience.
"Oops," I said in an instantly calmer tone. "I’m supposed to be practicing patience, aren’t I?"
The girls nodded and smiled.
"Let me re-phrase that. Loula, I can see that you didn’t put the containers away like you should have. And even though I’m talking to you in a calm and friendly voice, I’m still upset. Please do a better job next time."
The amazing thing is, once I caught myself and spoke more calmly, the whole tone of our morning completely changed. The girls almost giggled when I corrected myself in front of them, and the rest of the morning as I continued to urge them to get ready for school in an ultra-sweet voice, it was as if we were all participants of an inside joke.
I can hardly believe I’m saying this, but practicing patience was actually FUN. And, I might add, effective.