Wednesday, February 19, 2020

what happens when we let go of exasperation

“Fathers. do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

     Pastor Caz is doing a sermon series on family, and he included the above verse in his sermon on Sunday. We have all heard about discipline, but we hear less about not exasperating our children. I wanted to share what I have learned about my own parenting, and about exasperation.
     My youngest had some behavior issues we were trying to address, and so I read that book that talked about focusing on one behavior at a time. This meant choosing the most pressing behavior to focus on, and letting other behaviors go. For us, that meant not correcting her when she demanded instead of asked. It meant ignoring clothes on the floor. For two weeks, we focused on only one behavior.
     This was not easy, but I noticed quickly that she was exasperated less, because there was less conflict between us. And here is the amazing thing about adults: we can choose not to be exasperated. I realized through some hard work how damaging my own thoughts were in my approach. I changed. I chose to not get riled up over certain behaviors.  I chose to dwell on progress for tough behavior and the exuberance and joy our youngest has brought to our lives.
     Relationships matter. How are we exasperating our children? Are we expecting too much of them? Are we demanding that they display more patience than we demonstrate to them? Where can we extend our children the grace we so desperately need ourselves?
Beth Kropf