Redefining Our Approach to Time
Patience is not something that I would have defined myself as having in years past. When my kids were young, I remember always being in a hurry; whether it was to go out somewhere, to get them to bed, to have them complete their homework, to do the dishes, and so on, I was always in a rush. I lived my life in a hurried state, which created an additional level of stress on top of the normal, everyday stressors of being a parent.
Have you ever been in a rush to go somewhere and your kids cannot find their backpacks, water bottle, or even their shoes? Perhaps they aren’t even dressed when it is time to go to soccer practice, or yet, a game.
I know when my kids were younger, this would set me off into a frenzy. Time was way too important to me, and I was unable to tolerate or accept delay. I sometimes yelled and commanded that people get in the car so we could leave and be “on time,” which was usually always five minutes early. There was not much compassion in my voice back then. Of course, this transferred to my children. The more stressed we are as parents, the more they absorb it and the more tension it causes. It does not help them get out the door, get to bed or get homework done. In reality, it causes the opposite.
We must ask ourselves, “Why is it so important that we do everything so precisely in accordance to time?” If we are a few minutes late, will the world crumble? These situations are twofold. We can work with the time and allow nature to run its course. Perhaps we can help our children find their shoes or help them get dressed for their game, assisting them in a caring and compassionate way. In this example, one transitions from impatient energy to compassionate energy.
Secondly, we can account for these situations ahead of time. For example, we can wake up earlier and encourage our children to do the same. If we begin preparations to be ready earlier, then we do not feel the stress of being late or running behind. It is also important to discuss the family needs and schedules with our children, depending on their ages, ahead of time. This empowers them to take part in a plan and gives them some autonomy, still with the end goal of getting out the door, but leaving the drama aside.
These are a few of the things that can reduce our stress and bring about more connection in these times of challenge. It is important to recognize when impatience begins to control situations instead of compassion. After I have recognized my own impatience, it has allowed me to be able to approach these situations with a gentle helping hand, realizing that “time is [truly not] of the essence”.