“No!” she shouts as I ask her if she wants to talk to her Daddy about the absolute lack of respect she’s displaying while we attempt to complete her assignments yesterday afternoon.
She’s been angry with me more times than I want to count today. So many times today, I’ve walked around the corner and asked “What am I doing wrong? All I want is for her to show respect and to get the work we need to do done.”
“Give me patience” is the prayer I muttered under my breath as I dealt with the monotony of feeding three kids in the midst of growth spurts. But I wasn’t really acting on that prayer. I was losing my patience fast.
The grumpy cat man cub is yelling “No!” about everything on the table. All he wants is for me to sit down and feed him.
The house is a mess. There are more crumbs coming than I can keep up with. My patience is wearing thinner.
I have a meeting at 6:30, so we’re on a deadline of sorts.
I forgot to run the dishwasher after lunch. That means a pile of dishes after dinner when I get home. Oh well, they can wait.
It seemed like a million little things were piling up all at once. That’s my most frustrating time – when there are a lot of little things that need to happen all at the same time.
This mood of my big girl could be just a little thing or a sign of a bigger thing. She did get up at 7. She could just need a nap. But she’s in her room packing a suitcase to run away.
The little tasks of feeding the babies (AGAIN) were eating away at my patience. Can Little One really be hungry again?
The little crumbs all over the floor were staring holes into my back as I tried to ignore them. I swept the worst of them to the side with my foot.
These were just some of the little things that were getting under my skin.
My hubby likes to tell me to ignore the small stuff, but I have a problem with that. Sometimes small stuff adds up to big stuff if it’s not dealt with at the right time.
So, I’ve been pondering a means of testing the little things. The aim here is to get my patience back and to work on making those little things add up to the supreme thing of training children up in the way they should go.
Do the crumbs really matter? Yeah, the little crumbs probably don’t matter, but they do when you let them pile up. It’s overwhelming when I let them go all day. I’m working on controlling them at lulls in the day instead of in the midst of the fourth meal of the day.
Are the little things setting up a pattern? This is a good indicator that something needs to change – a perspective (probably mine), an activity (we don’t have to do everything by the book; we’re homeschoolers), the venue (maybe the kitchen table isn’t always the best place to do school) or timing (maybe today isn’t a good day to work on adverbs and adjectives). Maybe it’s a day to work on rebuilding a relationship that’s strained.
Maybe it’s time to dig through those little things – mean words, frustration, I can’ts – and get to the root of them.
Do the little things matter in eternity? That’s the best question for means testing the little things.
Surely, a man cub grumbling over his problem with a cup not having ice is not an eternal problem. It’s not something for me to get upset about. It’s something for me to laugh at and attempt to fix. But sometimes you can’t fix toddlers. Thank the Lord they have a limited short-term memory.
Does the fact that we need to read story about a boy and his pet turtle matter in eternal terms? Not really.
But an attitude that’s not willing to try. An angry “No!” from a girl who is usually pretty happy go lucky is something that matters. This “little thing” has appeared quite often and it’s something that needs to be rooted out. Exposed. Worked on.
Why does a bad attitude need work? Because it can fester and be a bridge to a bigger problem.
That bigger problem can be a barrier to getting a great education. That bigger problem can be a model for her siblings.
If we don’t work through the “little things” of hands over ears, eye rolls and packing suitcases, we’re looking at a schism in our relationship. I don’t want that and I know she doesn’t either.
We worked on the little things all day Tuesday. It bore fruit about 5:30 that evening. She was back to herself after we took a break.
Working on Little Things
So, today forward, I’m taking measures to be sure I work on those “little things” that mean so much.
I’m bathing them in prayer. I’m arming myself with a few key scriptures about patience (Romans 5:1-5; Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 40:1; Romans 8:25 and Romans 12:12). And I’m going to give myself a break. Little things won’t steal our joy if we don’t let them.
And I’m getting a new broom. It’s a little thing that can make a big difference.