A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. (NIV)
Thank you Lord, that my pre-ker has a personality…and questions. Lots of questions. Endless questions about everything. Why? But why? So, what? So…..why? I have to pray to focus on thanksgiving for this trait, as the role of “question answerer” can leave one battle weary.
I forget, being stuck in that stage of adulthood, just how exploratory it is to grow up. If you tell a kid there is a reason for everything, well watch out…..they will want to know, sooner or later….the reason for everything. There can be a constant state of inquiring, reasoning, testing, suggesting, wondering, proposing, deciding, and determining. (These days, my favorite “ing” thing is sleeping). And how I respond to this – what seems like a constant barrage of trying to figure out how the world works – is more important than I initially realize. Does it matter if I am sharp tongued or hot tempered or impatient in having to explain, for the 4th time why the illustrator of a children’s book decided to make a character’s eyes red? Well, actually it does. Because no one else she knows now, or has ever met, has red eyes, why should this character? This is new, different, not matching, not making sense! There is already lack of peace present: reason and thought and ideas all quarreling around in one little brain. My reaction can either fuel the discord or calm the storm.
Part of what makes parenting exhausting is the role of referee/interpreter/detective of having to help make a sometimes nonsensical world make sense. This is an exhausting and vitally important role, and takes on different meanings at different ages and stages.
And so does this proverb, take on different meanings to me. This is not only a quick line on conflict resolution, though it is helpful in this regard. This is my reminder to remain calm, peaceful, joyful, PATIENT, in my speech, no matter how young the audience. Patience alone doesn’t supply all the answers, but it comforts during times of questioning, far more than hot temperedness. And questioning is awesome. I never prayed to give birth to a robot that accepted things at face value, without emotion or thought. All the more reason, that I should now pray for the patience that is required to help nurture a particularly inquiring and quarrelling mind.