I was asked a long time ago to write a few things about children.
Today I am addressing the mother's temperament.
Years ago when our children were small my husband found this poem in a church bulletin and framed it for me. I no longer have the original gift but I know the poem by heart:
I can understand mothers innudated by noise and questions losing patience and giving hasty, sharp replies, but this is a good reminder to older women too. The phone rings, a friend has problems, company is coming, and the housework is piling up. It can make you snap unfairly at the next person who says something to you.
This is a principle that some people do not quite understand. Teens and young adults, and even some old adults, think nothing of giving a sharp and rude reply, not thinking that it created memories and taints the home. Occasionally a guest will criticize or begin a rude diatribe, spout smart remarks or dirty jokes. Staging long, involved arguments may seem smart, as they outwit their parents over issues, but this does not fill a room with happy memories.
When patience with children is learned, it helps in all other areas of life.
Helpful in creating the virtue of patience is to recall the most embarrassing or terrible thing you ever did, or something you just can't even believe you did. Then, you are more patient and forgiving of others.
When that child is screaming and being miserable, patience, rather than resistance, gathers him in her arms and kisses him. I remember a mother saying tenderly to her child, "Is her having a bad day?" And then patiently gathering her little resistant self into her arms. In no time at all, the child melted and love was restored. If you can train yourself to respond this way, there will be love in the home and patience will reign.
For women of all ages: quickly confess to God, reconcile with loved ones and be "bonded" with them as brethren, as the New Covenant teaches. They are also your brothers and sisters in Christ. Patients is a willingness to love, despite circumstances.
You can train your temperament to withstand stress. Just think, "Will I end up regretting this snappy, sharp reply later?" Remember, your children will pick up your attitudes, as they see more than you realize. You are supposed to watch for their souls, and so you would want to be a good example. Be patient.
I have been a preacher's wife in the Lord's church for nearly 45 years. I had to learn very early to withstand some awful criticism from outsiders, and not respond in kind, because I could not put a bad light on the church. Many times, for the sake of harmony, I had to acquiesse to people who were not mature, in order to prevent trouble. Some times troublesome people tried to overrun patience and control my temperament.
Are you quick to forgive and to reconcile or do you carry hatred, bitterness and resentment? Do you want to punish people? Do you bring up past sins and dredge up faults from years ago? These are things no Christian should be carrying in his heart. This poem encourages Mothers to create memories through patience.
Our grandmothers seemed so much more patient than our mothers. They had grown wiser.
The culture around us is very rude and it is easy to think we are normal when we act like the rude people around us. Let me give you an example of how to get our temperaments the way Christ would want: patience is a virtue.
Two young women were in a double room of a birthing center, being assisted by midwives in the delivery of their first babies. One woman uttered terrible oaths and cursing each time she felt a labor pain. The woman on the other side of the curtain prayed to God whenever she had a labor pain. The latter is an example of a woman who had trained her mind to think on things above. Even in all that pain, she was aware of her Lord and conscious of her accountability to Him and courteous of those around her."
We often excuse anger and hasty, sharp replies, hatred or bitterness, by saying the person is under stress, having a bad day, in financial trouble, just lost a loved one, etc. but the test of the heart and the temperament is trouble. Each time you bite your tongue, a victory over your own temperament is won. I can attest to the fact that a moment of release of a bad temper is not worth what it will cost you. The price seems to take on compound interest!
Everyone has their own experience to talk about, on the subject of patience.
It is possible in the midst of trouble to keep our temperaments in line with our Lord; to keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. If we fail over and over, we can keep praying and God is gracious to forgive and start anew. Children can know that, too.
There is comfort in God's promise that He is faithful to forgive, when we lose patience. He is also there to call upon for patience.
The original poem below, contains a verse left out of current copy: Let not weariness, confusion or noise, Obscure my vision of life's fleeting joys.