Kat‘s topic for Parent’s University: Patience.  I loved what truvyne said regarding this topic.  Be sure to check it out.

I only have one child.  She is 19 months old.  I do struggle with patience from time to time, but I’m sure it may be more of a challenge with the addition of more children.  That said, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve from my years of teaching 5th grade.  Oh, pray for elementary teachers!

Perspective:  Routines vs. Rules
In the classroom, I established routines and lots of them.  Morning routine.  Lunchtime routine.  Going to P.E. class routine.  Turning-in-your-papers routine.  You get the idea.  I did this after years of pulling my hair out, so to speak, and being frustrated that things were not going smoothly.  I remembered a book I read during my college education called The First Days of School by Harry Wong.  In it, Wong establishes the idea that some things may be rules while others are simply procedures.  Many teachers get these two mixed up.  A rule might be, “Use kind words to others” while a procedure might be something like, “Enter the classroom quietly.”  You discipline when a student breaks a rule but not necessarily if a procedure is not followed.

For example, on the first day of school, I explained to my beautiful students the procedure for entering the classroom.  And then we practiced.  And then we practiced again.  And then again.  And again.  And…again.  Once it seemed like they finally understood, I expected that procedure to be followed.  If there was a time that the procedure wasn’t followed, instead of totally losing it, we would practice the procedure…again.  I realize this may sound tedious, but it was quite revolutionary.  Because it was no longer a discipline issue, I was able to take the emotion out of it (ie, my impatience) and treat the situation from an objective standpoint. And because I was objective about it, my students were, as well.  They didn’t get defensive about things.  We just practiced the procedure again until they were so tired of it that they decided to do it right from then on.  Of course, I tried to handle these situations with a smile on my face and kindness in my heart.  That helps, too.

I think the same principle can apply to parenting.  Granted, my daughter is very young and her procedures as of now are ones that have to do with things like how we put toys away, etc.  But the idea is the same.  I treat these situations as routines.  It allows me to keep my cool and see things from a more objective point of view.  It’s all about perspective.

There were times, of course, when a routine was or was not followed and discipline did occur.  This happened mainly when bad attitudes arose.  At that point, I followed the school’s policy for student behavior.  The same occurs with my toddler.  If she deliberately does something out of rebellion, we handle things differently.

This may sound ideal, but obviously, when a child asks to go outside for the hundredth, millionth time even though it’s raining or an infant spits up all over you right before you’re heading out the door, all of this nice, pretty perspective goes right out the window.  That’s when I ask God to fill me again with His Holy Spirit.  If I am truly abiding in Him, the fruit should be patience, right?  That’s what the Bible says.

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