A Special Gift for Parents of Children with Special Needs: Patience
This gift might be a bit predictable, but it is a gift we all need and a virtue we all need to practice. Speaking for myself, I practice patience every day–with my child, my loved ones and, yes, my clients. We live in a fast paced world with a lot of demands for our attention. It can feel frustrating, annoying and downright maddening when people constantly need things from us, make unnecessary messes or cannot adequately take care of their responsibilities. Patience will get you through.
Patience is important because many of the things your child does that frustrate you are unintentional or can’t be helped. For instance, sometimes my son spills milk or juice at dinner. He’s 5 years old, doesn’t want a “baby sippy cup,” and is learning to coordinate eating, drinking, sitting down (rather than wiggling, kneeling, or walking about), and talking to us about his day.
With all that multitasking, sometimes drinks get spilled. Milk is not spilled intentionally, but it does create a big mess for me to clean up. But what would be the point of getting upset with my son? Would my disapproval prevent spills tomorrow or next week? Nope. So I take that all important Deep Breath, clean everything up, give him a fresh cup of milk and go on with dinner.
Am I always patient? No. Do I strive to be more patient and practice every day? Yes.
Our patience teaches our children that their mistakes are just that, mistakes. An error is no reason to get angry or be disappointed.
Our patience teaches our children to be patient with others and themselves.
Our patience teaches our children that it is ok to try new things even if they are not always successful the first time.
Our patience teaches our children to be calm in the face of adversity, challenge and frustration.
Our patience spreads love and joy in our home, our children’s school and our community.
Our patience is a clear sign of our acceptance of our children for who they are with all their gifts and challenges.
We strive for patience. We will always need practice. I wish you the gift of patience.