Sometimes it just takes a slight attitude change to see the frustrating aspects of their personalities as strengths. And sometimes that attitude change comes thanks to wise words from someone a farther down the mothering road. In her post Strong Willed Children Are a Blessing, Not a Curse, Lynnette Sheppard of Simply For Real writes:
One Sunday, I was out in the hallway at church with a particularly fussy Andrew, who was about three years old at the time. While he was screaming, a sweet elderly woman came up to me and said “Your kids are so cute.”
I glanced down at my screaming toddler, and wondered if she was talking to the right person.
“They have some spunk,” she went on, “which means that they will accomplish great things.”
I told her that I hoped she was right, and she confidently assured me that she was. I walked away, a little stunned at her timing. She had seen me come to church week after week, and watched me struggle with my rambunctious children. She had observed me spending more time walking the halls while trying to keep them quiet than actually sitting in the meetings. I could not understand why she had picked this particular moment, when my patience was shot and my child was screaming, to tell me that my kids were full of potential.
This was not just any ordinary woman. She was a women whom everybody admired. She had raised five amazing children of her own. She was quiet, yet courageous. Her years of experience had given her wisdom beyond my comprehension. I wanted to be just like her. And, here she stood, telling me that things with my kids, which felt completely overwhelming at that time, would turn out OK. Did she know of the inner struggle that I often had – wondering why I even attempted church – wondering what I could do to teach these little ones? I desperately wanted to believe her. But, how could she be so sure? She didn’t really know MY kids.
However, the more that I thought about her words, the more hope filled my heart. I had to believe that she knew something that I didn’t know. I think she knew MANY things that I didn’t know. And, maybe…just maybe…she was the answer to my prayers – a sweet assurance that this stage would not last forever, and that my seemingly impossible children had come to me with strong wills because they would NEED them to accomplish great things later in life. I took comfort in that.
Are your children strong-willed? Do you feel that one more day of frustration might break you? The wisdom of her elderly friend gave Lynnette a new level of understanding of her children and their potential. Click here to read her essay in full and gain an extra dose of patience.