Thursday, July 7

Discipline Part One - Patience and Gentleness

At one time or another, if you're a mama out and about with a large group of children, and you're not screaming... or yanking them about... and don't look as if your eyeballs are about to pop out - you'll hear something sugary along the lines of "oh, you must be so patient so have so many children" (this follows the question inquiring what daycare you are from). Or perhaps you've heard something similar to: "I could never have ____ children, because I don't have the patience for it", and have wanted to encourage the woman at hand that she can mother children and doesn't have to feel like a helpless or impatient woman. Maybe you've said those words yourself. Either way, I'd like to kindly shine a little light on the subject of patience and gentleness as it applies to mothers.

I strive more in our home, and pray more, for a gentle spirit, rather than a patient one. If I am allowing my child to smack me over and over or tug on my skirt and holler while I'm talking or yank items off the grocery shelf, then I am applying patience in an inappropriate manner. If I'm patiently observing behavior than hurts themselves or others (even in the long run), I'm dosing out the same inappropriate patience. Inappropriate patience runs rampant in our society. Dare I say, especially among parents?
Patience in not losing our tempers and patience for childishness is, as mothers, invaluable. Patience in allowing what will harm (short term or long term), whether because we've bought into the idea that every child deserves an unbridled freedom of expression, or because we simply don't *know* what to do to teach our children, is detrimental.

"Let your gentleness be evident to all," Phil. 4:5

I want to be a mama remembered for being gentle. When applying inappropriate patience and ignoring unruly behavior seems like an easy option (it usually is), I want to be the mother that instead quietly scoops up the child and takes them aside for a talk or appropriate discipline. James 5:8 speaks of being "patient and standing firm", a description I love. Lord, help me to be a mother that stands firm in gentleness and appropriate patience!


Bonnie said...

THANK-YOU for re-posting these Hannah.

My 4 are usually very well behaved when we are out and about (or at least when they do disobey in some way, it's not obvious to anyone but me), but at home one child in particular has been causing me angst. (always when I think we've finally trained a certain thing out of them does this one regress. grr.)

Anyway, I need the gentle mama reminders, and you revisiting discipline now is just so exactly what I need right this moment.
Again, I thank you!

Unknown said...

While I don't share your religious beliefs, as a teacher I love seeing a parent acknowledging that being patient with bad behaviour isn't the right way. I see far too many children who aren't used to hearing 'No' or 'Stop' and being expected to follow that.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...


This is a very well written post. As a Mom of six - half of whom are grown ups now - I echo your words.

I find that my getting upset or frustrated stems not from my children disobeying, but from my lack of attention to the issue early. If I am looking to help them and instruct them then I will deal with them calmly and quickly.

I still have three children to go ages 12, 9 and almost 6! I am still learning in this area, but God is good!


Verna said...

Great post! I find myself often in need of a more gentle spirit.

Homestead Living said...

Beautifully written!!! I have never really thought about impatience that way.
Thanks for sharing,

Gail @ The Imperfect Housewife said...

I must confess, that although I've understood the concept of "inappropriate patience" that's never what I've called it! Thank you for the reminder that it is a gentle spirit that we need. I can't wait to read the rest of this series! Thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

What a great post! I LOVE your family photo in the top left hand corner and your header is JUST LOVELY! :)

Karilee said...

This is so true, thank you so much for posting it.
A gentle reminder is often worse than a harsh word. :)

Aritha said...

Hannah, I'am so glad to read this posting. It touched me. Thank you,

Susan Cowger said...

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Treena said...

I find the exact opposite problem in my church and just with mothers in general, where I live. It breaks my heart to see kids in my son's Sunday school class week after week be treated in such harsh, unkind ways. I witness parents call their little ones mean names, complain about how difficult they are, and just in general have a stern, harsh, unloving way towards them. I'm not saying I think I'm a perfect mom, but I do find it hearbreaking to see children be treated this way and the parents don't see anything wrong with their actions. It makes me think in about 12 years from now these parents are going to reap a very angry, rebellious, backsliden teenager.