In just a few short weeks, my family will be celebrating my oldest son’s second birthday. He loves fish, so we’ve decided to make the theme of his party “Under The Sea.”
I’m going to try my hand at making cute little bento box hot-dog octopi, since hot dogs are also his current favorite food. We’ll see how well they turn out. #nailedit
As excited as I am for my son’s party, and as proud as I am of the smart, independent little man he’s becoming, you can’t have your rainbows without a little rain.
By rain I mean tantrums. A seven-day forecast of tantrums, with a chance of tantrums.
The terrible two’s are on the horizon, and my little guy has already been quite stormy as far as his moods go since a little after he turned one.
And honestly I totally get it. For one thing, toddlers by nature get by on instant gratification, and despite my every effort to get him to understand, he’s still a little too little to fully grasp the concept of waiting for food to cool off before being served.
And while my little one has been struggling with his emotions, I too have found it difficult to control my temper lately.
A long time ago I wrote a post on why every Christian should work in retail, in which I talked about my experiences in customer service and how it is a great way to exercise grace and turning the other cheek. Now that I’m a freelancer/stay-at-home-mom, I’ve begun to think that every Christian could benefit from working with kids to help strengthen patience.
I’ve referenced James 1: 19 before, in regards to refraining from gossip, but I think the verse is also fitting in this situation. There have been so many times where I have done the polar opposite of all the things stated in this verse when it comes to my interactions with my son, and not once has it done either of us any good.
In the times I have let myself become explosive in response to my son’s tempers, all it has really done is get us both even more worked up, and he just ends up misbehaving even more. But when I can just step away for a moment, take a deep, deep breath, I find I am much better equipped to handle his outbursts. When I’m able to speak to him kindly, but firmly, he will, however reluctantly, calm down and we can work with each other to the best of our abilities.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) If I snap at my son when he starts to act up with a harsh, “Stop it!” or “I said no!” more often than not, it just provokes his anger further. When I’m able to get to his level and say to him, “I understand you’re upset, but…” he may still protest a little, but he’s able to calm down much quicker than when I let my own temper get the best of me.
This approach can not only be applied to toddlers and young children, but to adults as well. When in a disagreement, it’s best to take a breath and focus our energy on patience before we do something to escalate the situation, or say something we’ll regret.
Proverbs 14:29 tells us, “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” Rarely does anyone make a rational decision when in the throes of rage. To help us better work out future arguments, and to help keep us from making a fool out of ourselves for making a scene or cursing someone out online, we must learn and practice the art of patience.
I realize now that I need to be a better example for my son, who is learning at a remarkable pace. I need to show him how we should behave and how God wants us to treat others. It will be challenging as he gets further into the toddler phase, but with a little patience and a lot of prayer, maybe these two’s don’t have to be so terrible after all.