While I was driving my son to school, he informed me of a homework assignment that should have been done the previous night. Jeremy is in the third grade and hates it, particularly math. If I ask him what he did during the day his answer is, “I don’t know.” I would have better luck winning fifty million dollars in a lottery than pulling any sort of school related information out of him.
The incomplete assignment was a math assignment, of course. When I asked why he didn’t tell me about the homework, his response was, “I forgot.” Immediately, I lost my cool and raised my voice, even said harsh words about his irresponsibility.
It seems to be a never-ending battle. I actually thought about how many more years he had left in school, looking forward to graduation . . . if he ever graduated, that is.
After arriving to work that morning, I had a little discussion with the Lord. “Why does this have to be such a battle?”
I think I did most of the talking in that discussion. My Heavenly Father, being the patient and caring God He is, let me talk, and then he responded.
“My child,” he seemed to be saying, “Your child is fearfully and wonderfully made. He may have his quirks and dislikes. He may need more help than other kids. But I made him. I made him for you. He may not fully grasp a math concept which frustrates you. However, how have you handled his frustrations? You see, all of my children are imperfect and have idiosyncrasies. Everyone has weak areas. I know your fragile area is patience. What can you learn from today’s events? Just because you aren’t in school, doesn’t mean you can’t be taught.”
Ouch! That stung.
Okay, so now I’d been brought down a couple notches and guilt set in.
Why did I let my son leave the car knowing I was frustrated and angry? I should have hugged him. But I didn’t.
My thoughts focused on a passage I had read before – James 1: 19-20. The verses spoke directly to me. “…be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
I told God, “I’m sorry.”
Although I’m the parent, I know I’m not going to handle every situation ideally. Children forget assignments. They lose jackets and roll eyes. But what matters most is how I react to those situations.
My son is looking to me for guidance. Maybe even to help him learn and like math. He’s watching every move, expression and reaction. Children mimic parents. If I want my son to listen, be slow to speak, not be angry, and grow to be righteous, then I need to set the example.
That afternoon, when I picked him up from school, I said what I’d never said to him before. “I’m sorry.”
The apology wasn’t to excuse his missed homework assignment. It was to teach him what God taught me that day. Jeremy’s eyes lit up with relief and he whispered, “Thank you.”
Then I did what I wanted to do all day. I hugged him.
With his little arms around me, I felt like I also felt the warm embrace of bigger arms and heard two voices say, “I forgive you.”
Do you say your sorry often to your children? How do you model patience and forgiveness to them as a single mom?
Dianna Owens is a paralegal by day. She’s also a full-time mommy to a nine-year-old inquisitive boy, Jeremy, and a four-year-old, sassy, strawberry blonde, Ava. After becoming a single mom three years ago, Dianna did a lot of soul-searching. In 2013 she discovered a passion for writing and thus her blog was birthed. When she’s not chasing toddlers and drafting legal documents, you can find her at www.diannaowens.com. Dianna is also a part of a women’s ministry. Their daily dose of encouragement can be found at www.ignite2ignite.org.