Tag Archives: patience

To yell or not to yell?

Last year I told Michael of my intention to resolve in the New Year not to raise my voice with the children.

“You can’t make a resolution like that,” he protested.  “All parents need to raise their voices sometimes.”

I have cogitated on this.  I know that as a parent it is important to do one’s best not to lose one’s cool.  And I know that one must not take out one’s tensions on one’s children.  This much is clear.

Gentle parenting experts recommend expressing disapproval by conveying surprise, disappointment, and sorrow in one’s tone of voice.  I can convey surprise, disappointment, and sorrow.  It’s just that it tends to come out at an elevated volume.

I will say this for Michael’s position. There have been occasions when, having at length resorted to raising my voice, one of two things will happen.  The child will look at me with a surprised expression that indicates that he really has just heard me for the first time; or the child will look at me with a cheery expression which seems to say, “Oh, the thing that you were saying over and over again for me to do was what you really wanted me to do?”

So I conclude that the jury is still out on this question.  For help in the meantime I have composed the following:

The Perspicacity Prayer

God, grant me the perspicacity
To holler at my kids when I should
To hold my peace when I shouldn’t
And the wisdom to entrust to You the difference.

Of goats and gamins

Schoolwork is much more interesting when the writing implements have altercations with one another.


It is also an excellent opportunity for me to practice patience.

Thomas is challenged to be patient while he does schoolwork, too.  Anthony has a habit of creeping up ever so softly behind him, reaching under his elbow, and stealing a crayon or eraser or pencil.  He then runs off in high glee, because he knows, as sure as morn follows night, that Thomas will give a great wail, and a heated chase will ensue, around and around the dining and living rooms.

I try to tell Thomas (although he is usually too upset to hear) something that someone once told me, only about him, to wit:

Some time ago in confession my jaw almost hit the kneeler when instead of hearing, as I half-feared, “Wretch!  How could you lose your temper with your small child?” what the priest actually said was, “You know he’s just trying to get your goat, don’t you?”


I think this qualifies as a Social Studies lesson for all three of us.