Gorilla Girl corrects my of my behavior almost as much as I remind her of our expectations for her behavior. I suppose if she continues to reprimand me, it could become a point of contention — my own parents would have viewed such behavior as “back talk.” Gorilla Girl’s tone of voice and intentions, though, make her reprimands and reminders valid and appropriate — at least for now.
On our way to Monkey Man’s therapy on Tuesday, I was frustrated by drivers who roll right through stop signs, not looking or waiting their turn at busy intersections. I am sure this is a terrible habit, but I often use my teacher voice to reprimand these drivers. They don’t hear me, of course, but I carry on an on-going commentary about their bad driving habits that endanger others. In one of these moments, Gorilla Girl noted, “Mommy, Daddy does not talk to the other cars.” She has done this before — it is a joke in our family. This time, she continued, “You need to be more patient. Daddy just waits for them to go. He doesn’t talk to them. And you can’t talk to these cars anyway — they don’t have mouths or teeth. This isn’t Cars 2.”
Clearly, Gorilla Girl has been listening to our adult conversations. We have to be careful about that. Gorilla Girl also had a valid point. I do need to be more patient. I like to think that I have patience when it comes to working with my 7th grade students. I think I am reasonably patient with Gorilla Girl and Monkey Man, but this episode revealed that in many ways, my expectations that people –all people — do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it is flawed. I get cranky with Gorilla Girl and Monkey Man when I am in a rush to get to work/school and they are dawdling. I can loose my patience when Gorilla Girl leaves her “tickets” all over the floor for the eight hundredth time. I get impatient when Monkey Man has said my name a thousand times to get my attention.
Maybe all parents struggle with the line between patience and helping kids with limits, expectations, and helpful family and community behavior. Finding the balance that allows them to get with the program while not feeling stressed or put-down is the key.
Patience, or the lack thereof, is something that has plagued me throughout my life. I once had a boyfriend who said he thought the Guns N Roses song “Patience” should be my theme song. I think I’ve made progress in my patience since college, and thankfully, have also moved on to more complicated music, but here it is, for those of you who have never been lucky enough to hear these words of wisdom!