I am in the bathroom when all of the sudden I hear knock, knock, knock, “Mommy, can I have some chocolate milk!” I am in the middle of teaching my 5 year old his math lesson when all of the sudden the little one climbs onto my lap and starts trying to push her brother away. I am talking to my older son about his religion chapter when my oldest daughter starts asking for help with her brand new e-mail account. It feels like my whole life is just one interruption after another. I could literally fill up a book with all the interruptions I have experienced just this morning. I am sure I have not started and finished anything in the last 12 years without having to stop for some interruption or another. Some days I just want to yell, “Enough already! Can’t I just get something done, just once, without being interrupted?!?!?!”
I, myself, have the very bad habit of interrupting others, which is, I am sure, where my children get it. I have tried to not interrupt but I get so impatient and excited to just barrel ahead in life that I have trouble waiting. I always feel like I have something so important to share that it just can’t wait. My children, clearly feel the same. They just have to have their chocolate milk NOW. It can’t wait until I am finished in the bathroom. They just have to have my attention NOW. It can’t wait until I am finished working with their sibling. They just have to have my help NOW. It can’t wait until I am done talking. When I look at their impatience and their reasons for interrupting they seem so unimportant. This is definitely one of those areas that God is using my children to teach me something. I can see how their impatience makes it harder for me to get anything done. And how their need to have everything they want NOW, is disrespectful and selfish. I can see, when I am willing to look at my own mistakes, that my own disrespectful impatience hurts others too. I can also see how it makes me miss out on so many things I might get to hear and experience.
Obviously, the best way to teach my children patience is for me to be more patient. If I could model patience and peace while waiting for my turn in life what a difference it would make in my own life as well as in the lives of my children. If they could see me being calm and serene while waiting forever in line at the store while the lady in front of me insists on a price adjustment for every single little item she has purchased and the cashier struggles over each and every seemingly complicated price adjustment she must do to please the demanding, fussy lady, what virtue my children would be taught. If they could see me wait patiently for the old man in front of me in traffic as he sits at the green light for an eternity then finally starts putting along at 20 miles per hour on a busy road with a speed limit of 45, as we are heading to a meeting that we are just barely going to be on time for if we can just get going at a reasonable speed already, what a wonderful example of patience they would have when we arrive late to our destination. Wouldn’t the lesson along the way make the extra time it took all worth it? But, most of the time, I miss these opportunities to model virtue to my children in my own rush to get what I want NOW.
Maybe all the interruptions I must endure each day, are one big long lesson for me in patience and respect for others. Maybe God is sending me a message to just relax and enjoy the ride of life and of raising children. A journey that even in the best and most virtuous conditions is full of unavoidable interruptions. Interruptions I don’t mind so much, like baby hugs in the midst of making lunch (even if they are necessary because she has fallen off a chair that she never should have been standing on to begin with) or uncontrollable giggles with my family in the middle of dinner (giggles that have interrupted our meal because we all glanced at the baby and noticed that she was quietly and methodically shoving her peas one by one into her buckle to avoid eating them) or stopping to pray while doing our schoolwork (because things aren’t going so well, and what we really need is not more spelling words but some divine intervention and heavenly peace). And, of course those less desirable interruptions, like the kids begging me to get off the computer in the middle of typing my blog because they want to play their video games…….