(If you read the latest post, then you know that I've been speaking on forgiveness. If not, then, um, well: I've been speaking on forgiveness. Now you are up to speed!)
I've got an 8-year old son that I am homeschooling. I'm not looking for a diagnosis here, folks, but he loses focus easily and "squirrels!!" on a regular basis. Doing a math facts or language arts worksheets with him is the ultimate test of my patience. He's good at it all, for the most part, but he's just not quick. Or efficient. Or neat. Not to label him, but I'm gonna label him: he's an 8-year-old boy.
Combine this 8-year-old boy student of mine with a pre-teen, strong-willed, flair-for-the-dramatic 11-year-old girl student of mine, and you have a recipe for explosions from me, a teacher who doesn't like to sit still but likes to be accomplishing all the things at once.
*sigh* (of mental exhaustion)
At times, my nerves get a little frazzled. That frazzling translates into snappy comments directed at my son who is just doing his thing in his own way. The look on his face when I snap at him...augh. He is broken-hearted and near tears as he continues on with his schoolwork.
People, this is a make-or-break moment in parenting. Do I let my pride get in the way and stand tall in my righteous irritation and firmness? Nah, I can't do that without creating a chasm that might someday become too deep to cross.
Instead I usually grab that boy and hold him, or get down on his level and look him in the eye and I apologize. "I'm sorry, buddy. It was wrong of me to snap at you like that. You didn't deserve it and I should have had more patience with you. Can you forgive me?"
His lanky arms wrap around my neck and he pulls me close to him and shoves his face as close to me as he can and just loves on me. Chasm averted.
There is no pride worth creating a separation from your children. Saying "I'm sorry" is difficult, but only the first few times. It gets easier the more you do it. Plus, the example that you are setting for your children is a great one.
I don't know about you, but I would gladly give up my pride to have my child's lanky arms wrapped around my neck. That's just about the best feeling in the world.