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!