I read the other day on a blog that, when trying to be patient with your children, if all else fails, ''at least pretend you are patient''. "How silly", I thought! How do you 'pretend' you are patient? Well, today I learned.....
A Walmart trip was in order. I hadn't been 'really' grocery shopping since at least a week or two before Leanna was born. We've been surviving on all the yummy meals friends and family have been bringing us, as well as an occasional run for 'bread and milk'. But today, my fresh AND frozen meals ran out, and I realized my cupboards were....empty. I needed EVERYTHING. Toilet paper, tissues, hand-soap, toothpaste, yogurt, milk, meat, cheese, fruit....you name it, I was out of it.
Unfortunately, my husband has been out of town on a business trip for a couple of days. But this WalMart trip couldn't wait. My mom volunteered to take my older three to story hour, and my sister said she'd come to watch Leanna while I shopped. (A REAL sacrifice on her part, I know ;)
Anyway, I finished my HUGE order and found what I thought was the shortest line available. It WAS short. But it was SLOOOOOOOOW!!!!
She must have been a new cashier. She looked over every single item on the belt before deciding which one to ring through next. Then, she couldn't work the machine, and she didn't know how to punch in half of my produce codes. She'd take each and every single bag and put it UP on the shelf for me, instead of just wheeling it around in the circle thing. It was slow, folks, very, very slow.
Then, she finally gets everything rung through, and I sign my credit card slip. She looks at it, looks at my credit card signature, goes 'Hmmm'........and then asks to see my I.D.! Because, I suppose, my signature didn't 'match up'.
I wanted to yell "Lady, I've been in this line for almost a half hour! I have three kids probably driving their grandmother crazy by now, a new-born who is upset and hungry, frozen food that's already been out of the freezer and coolor for twenty mintues, plus I have a good twenty minute drive home, after which I'll have to carry these 18 bags into my kitchen and sort through the cold stuff, hoping it's not melted---if, that is, I can manage to do it BEFORE I have to stop and nurse my baby. And now you have the nerve to ask me for my I.D.??? I signed the slip messily because I'm in a HURRY!"
But I didn't say that. Not a word of it. I thought of it. Every word ran through my head. Twice, in fact.
But instead, I smiled, said "Sure", and handed her my driver's license. I turned my cart to go, she said 'Have a nice day', and I smiled and said "You too".
See? How simple was that? I was not FEELING patient on the inside---I was FEELING very hurried. But on the outside, I remained totally calm, cool and collected. I pretended to be patient. And it worked.
So, why can't I do that with my kids? When they are doing something equally as silly or naughty, why can't I 'pretend' to be patient? The answer is, I could, if I really tried. No matter what I'm FEELING inside, I can choose to show patience and calmness on the outside.
I guess it's kind of like love. Sometimes you don't FEEL love, but you can always CHOOSE to love. Same thing with patience. And maybe, if I make myself 'pretend' to be patient more often, it will start to turn into the 'real thing'.
I'm just thinking 'out loud'....