My youngest son asked me if I ever got impatient with him when he was little. The query arose because of his two pre-school daughters – my granddaughters. The first thing I thought to say was, “I’m glad you don’t remember.”
Here’s what I actually said…
It was disappointing to me when I felt impatient towards you and your brother. I thought I was patient. Parenting pointed out that I wasn’t.
The level of a child’s annoyance is strangely correlated to a parent’s fatigue and stress level. Overactive and tired children can grate on an already distressed parent’s nerves. They did on mine. Then you don’t feel so great as a parent.
Pre-schoolers aren’t expected to have a lot of self-control, especially when they are tired. Expectations are much, much higher with parents, even when they are tired.
“Son, you don’t have to be perfect as a parent, just under control. God is good at helping parents develop self-control.”
When life pushes you to your limit and you are hard pressed, what squeezes out will be how much of God’s love you’ve allowed in to your life.
Remember to enjoy your kids’ childishness. Sooner than you know it or like it, they will be growing up, moving on and moving out. Childhood is a gift that parents can enjoy vicariously.
As they age, be prepared to hold them while you let them go.
See your role as “Dad” as your highest calling. Your girls are a gift from God. They are more precious than anything that money can buy. Their formative time with you is relatively brief. Each day is precious. Don’t wish any day away because of your own preoccupations.
Help them grow up knowing one thing – that they never have to earn your love. That you love them because they are yours. You will always be their biggest fan. In so doing you give them the best shot at understanding God’s kind of love for them.
Hug their mom in front of them. Kiss their mom in front of them. Open doors for her. Pull out a chair for her. Say good things about her in front of them. When things go sideways, let them hear you apologize. Help them feel comforted by the tone and temper of your voice.
You’ll be glad you did. I know, because I am your father.