It's All About Kindness
"Love is kind". That is what is inscribed on the inside of my wedding ring. It's a reminder to me how important kindness is, and I often need the reminder. Most of you might be thinking I'm a pretty nice person, but I really do struggle with my sinful nature on this one. My kindness muscles are getting a lot of exercise lately, though, as I deal my teenage daughter (who really is wonderful most of the time, but can really have a stinky attitude at other times). Especially when it comes to math...
I think the biggest obstacle with math and my oldest is pride. She doesn't like admitting it isn't easy for her to understand and she doesn't like to depend on my help. Her negative attitude about it of course makes it harder to understand. She doesn't want to do the steps needed to complete a complicated problem, she just wants to do it quickly in her head and be done, not realizing that it would probably be quicker and less painful to just grab a piece of scrap paper and work it out there! It's frustrating to watch, and even more difficult to control myself when she starts treating me like dirt because she can't do it easily. Yeah, I think it is definitely a pride issue.
Needless to say, I do a lot of biting my lips to seal my mouth shut when this is going on. But no matter how kind and patient (but firm) I am, she often blows it and is disrespectful to me. Then she flies off to her room and I feel like a failure because I haven't yet taught my daughter how not to freak out when life throws you something challenging. I'm also feeling sad for her and emotionally exhausted from trying to hold it together and really out of sorts. It's hard to stay focused on the other things I need to do and the other children I need to parent. I do a lot of praying and inviting the Holy Spirit to come parent this child. And a lot of biting my tongue!
There have been two truths that have been sticking in my brain lately and I think they really apply to the struggles I have been having with my daughter. The first is found in Romans 2:4. That verse talks about how "wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient" God is with us, and how his "kindness leads us to repentance". The second is Philippians 4:4-5. In Philippians 4:4 we are told to "rejoice in the Lord always"and then it goes on to say:
Though my daughter is prideful about her school and has been quick to fly off with her emotions, she is also one who is very good about apologizing when she has done something wrong. Sometimes it takes a while, sometimes she needs prompting, but it really touches my heart and assures me that I am doing something right when she humbles herself, admits she was wrong, and comes in for a hug.