I remember the difficulty of getting my 5 year old son to bed one night. Six times he popped out of bed needing to do something. I got so anger I walked down the hall yelling “you get in bed and stay there!”
He ran back to bed crying saying “you looked like a skeleton chasing me.” I think this was because I was in my sweatpants with no shirt and my chest inflated with my anger made my ribs stick out and reminded him of a skeleton. Yikes…not one of my best dad moments. But none the less an important one. It took me about a month to regain my son’s trust that I would not “fly off the handle” as they. It made me aware of how my frustrations to get my son to listen really demonstrated to him how out of control I was. But the ensuing few weeks I practiced being aware of my moods and feeling states and could be proactive at not subjecting my son to my struggles for peace and harmony within. All part of learning to be a dad and understanding deeper about myself along the way.
Now if you get angry like this on occasional bases, you can recover and it is all about being a “good enough” dad not a perfect dad. If this happens regularly it is problematic and worth finding out how to get some help. But since these blog post are about learning patience has does this help?
There is an old Japanese story about a man who climbs up to the top of Mt. Fuji to ask the great Zen master, “what is most important in life?” The master answers, “practice patience.”
The man thanks the Zen master and walking down the mountain is thinking “how obvious and wise this is, if one practice patience everything will be easier for me and life will work out better.”
He than runs back up the mountain and says to the master, “master what you said about patience is so true and so obvious, but I have one more question; how do I get patience?”
The master smiles and says, “impatience.”
Our impatiens and failings are the keys to our development….the final post on “fatherhood and patience” is tomorrow.