Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mastering Weakness

The most frustrating thing about parenting for me is that our kids learn by watching what we do, this is a double edge sword. I am super impatient and get very irritated at distractions, kids who leave without finishing a task(our 9 year old son), and I also get irritated at messes, not accidents but when it's careless I get irritated that the mess is going to cost me time, that it will delay the thing I'm trying to accomplish. I have come to know myself well and a lot of times I'm not happy with what I see. I spend too much of my time irritated at things in life that are going to happen daily. Do I really want to spend my days irritated inside myself? No Way! Two talks I read and reread weekly are Elder Hollands April 2007 The Tongue of Angels and Be Slow To Anger by Elder Christensen April 1971.

Elder L. Ray Christensen: Parents may tell
                                           But never teach
                                           Unless they practice
                                           what they preach

        And this poem is now hanging three locations in my home and we all have it memorized:
                                                 A Little Explained
                                                A Little Endured
                                                 A Little passed over
                                                And the quarrel is cured
He counsels us that "frustrations often offer us the means of progression, for by overcoming them harmoniously, we grow and become more Christlike. He also said this and this is my theme running around in my brain when I battle for control over my thoughts so my words are loving, " the size of a man may be measured by the size of the things that make him angry"  He teaches that in life , "We are constantly exposed to irritations as we mingle with others—and even when we are alone. How we react to these irritations is a reflection of our personalities and temperaments. It would seem reasonable to believe that in order to develop a healthy, pleasing personality and to become useful and an influence for good, one must avoid being easily provoked to anger. Not only would we show, thereby, more maturity, but we would also be able to resolve disturbing situations more intelligently, because seldom, if ever, is any good accomplished while persons are in a rage. Anger does not contribute to good. It is a destroyer, not a builder."
The following is one part of Elder Hollands talk that I have highlighted and again read regularly.
“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” 4
"Well, that is pretty straightforward! Obviously James doesn’t mean our tongues are always iniquitous, nor that everything we say is “full of deadly poison.” But he clearly means that at least some things we say can be destructive, even venomous—and that is a chilling indictment for a Latter-day Saint! The voice that bears profound testimony, utters fervent prayer, and sings the hymns of Zion can be the same voice that berates and criticizes, embarrasses and demeans, inflicts pain and destroys the spirit of oneself and of others in the process. “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing,” James grieves. “My brethren [and sisters], these things ought not so to be.”
Is this something we could all work on just a little? Is this an area in which we could each try to be a little more like a “perfect” man or woman?"
While being realistic about shortcomings I also believe we should see our growth and recognize when we have had a victory. I am a more patient person that I used to be, I keep a journal faithfully and when I reread it I see insights into myself I am sure would be overlooked if not written down. I have improved, yet daily I struggle with the same bad reactions. It's been a learning process to curb unkind words when I'm irritated. I do know I can do it though.

Last week I was in the living room and hear a crash and the sound of glass shattering. My first thought was oh it was probably my grandmothers bowl but I didn't say that, what I chose to say was,
"Don't move, nobody move, we don't want anyone hurt." This response allowed the child in the kitchen to speak up and say what happened knowing I was concerned about them and not an object.

For every victory I achieve over my inner reaction to be irritated I feel a step closer to becoming perfect like Christ has asked us to become. I try not to count my slips, that's not fun and becomes overwhelming. What ever bad trait or habit we'd like to over come it is a way for us to become closer to Christ and use the atonement to forgive ourselves, know that He does understand how we feel and will support us in what we desire to become.

So whatever I am working on and you are working on we can support each other in our path to perfection by forgiving and restraining judgment and looking for each others' talents and positive traits.

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