When I’m on my own watching the kids I often find myself defaulting to using anger controllingly, manipulatively sighing, or stating “this is so hard for me.” Is it no wonder that I see the boys acting in much the same ways…though it is magnified times 2. When the boys hit and scream and yell and get frustrated easily I have to ask myself, “have I shown them new patterns or have I re-inforced this behavior by acting in much the same way?”
Reading the above quote, and then browsing the Maria Montessori blog and seeing the quotes below I’ve been feeling a lot of conviction. It scares me to think that my seemingly small, daily choices have the possibility of reaping a lifetime of pain in my boys.
As a part of our communal search for the roots of alienation and violence in our lives and in our society, we ask ourselves many questions.
- How does the average child feel by the age of six, having been the target of so much impatience, irritation, and annoyance?
- What does a six-year-old think having been an intimate in a relationship involving so much waffling, expediency, distraction, and inconsistency?
- Where does the average child place his trust and rest his security in the face of so much angry frustration and resentful resignation?
- At whom does a young child aim his reaction to being the cause of so much negativity, inwardly to his own soul, outwardly toward his intimates, or beyond to the Other, those strangers in strange lands?
- How can she help but forever after intertwine love (despite all, she loves her parents passionately and knows how dearly they love her) with anger, impatience, irritation, annoyance, resignation, and resentment?
- What sort of love relationship can he enjoy with friends, relatives, spouse, and with children of his own?
While I don’t agree 100% with the conclusions these people have ended up with, or agree entirely with where they come from, there is still a lot I’m left chewing on. I think its because I’ve already been feeling this conviction for some time now.
So, here’s to a deliberate choice to slowly and conciously interact with my children, giving them my full attention. Here’s to guiding them to right behaviors, and holding my tongue and my anger when I want to blow up. It’s best summed up by “be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
That whole section in James is a huge wake-up call. I know I have the grace to act patiently and calmly, now it’s time for me to choose to take hold of it…to be a hearer of the Word.
Do any of you guys struggle like this? Anyone want to join me in holding each other accountable, and interceeding for one another?