I'm not the most patient guy on the earth (sorry to disappoint the believers)...and it takes some real self control and 'sucking-it-up' to endure a child's incessant screaming over being put to bed (after twenty minutes of blood curdling screams, he's asleep)...but I've learned something about children. They are difficult. But that difficulty arises because rearing children is part of godliness (not to say that I'm deity by any stretch of the imagination)...and when has anything really worthwhile ever been easy?
Reminds me of two political science classes I had. One, Political Science 200 was a bear. I had weekly projects due and heavy amounts of research and preparation. I haven't worked that hard in a class throughout my entire education. I averaged three to four hours of sleep finishing up the projects...and ultimately got an A in the class. Two, Political Science 316, an interesting course about American political parties. I learned a great deal from the material and studied for nearly three weeks to prepare for the only exam. I worried about it and lost sleep over it...but the final took me 15 minutes and I only missed one question. Left the room happy with the A, but also disappointed and robbed by the ridiculously easy examination. My point is...both classes were fine...but only the one that stretched me ended up meaning something.
Which is why I think an impatient person can successfully calm him or herself when children slip up. Why? Currently I serve in a position where I'm confronted with young adults' unwise choices and must then participate in counseling them about the consequences and seeing that they receive the assistance necessary to learn from their mistakes and change their lives. It's not an easy thing to witness. It's an edifying experience but also a draining one. I'm repeatedly reminded how precious children are, no matter the age, and how merciful God is to his children. I see how these young adults are given opportunities to correct their lives, and not one has ever left those meetings with a 'easy slate.' It's all hard. It hurts like repentance should...but worth it. Now I'm not equating child-rearing with repentance; I'm merely reflecting on God's love for his children. I feel it in those experiences as I do with caring for Alex.
He's at the stage where he talks back and tries lashing out in frustration, pinching or hitting. He's still a little angel through and through but just in that transitional phase where he just won't listen. No matter. Sometimes I want to scream and run outside, yanking out chunks of hair and ramming my head into brick. But then I calm down and realize how precious that kid is, especially when he disarms me by smiling right after he's naughty. Point is...I've learned and am still learning that children are precious, no matter what their age. Consequently, are there really very many bad kids? I think that number is significantly smaller than I've ever realized. Hmmm...