Handling frustration (and humbling myself)

I love my children more than almost anything else. There is nothing that I would not do for them and would gladly take a bullet for them if it meant that they would live. My kids are the best kids in the world, hands down. They are smart, fun, and we have a great time playing and spending time together. But sometimes they really, really frustrate me.

There are moments when I am in a hurry or have a schedule to meet (I am an agenda-driven person at times) and for some odd reason, my kids don't seem to care a lot about my agenda. As a result, I'm ready to move and they are still sitting around being idle. And there are times when they are trying to move yet aren't really getting anywhere. For instance, my middle child is just learning to buckle her seatbelt all by herself. My oldest child is a pro at this but whenever she attempts to offer assistance to her younger sister, WWIII breaks out. Since their seats are in the back of the van it would greatly benefit me if my middle child would just let her older sister help her. But no, she won't do that, so I have to climb in the back, force a truce, and then buckle her in. All of this gets me pretty frustrated, especially when I am in a hurry to get some place.

Now you must understand, this is what kids do and I know that. And when this happens and I get frustrated it doesn't take long for me to realize that it's just a waste of time and energy to get bent out of shape about these things. Unfortunately, my kids sometimes see a side of their dad that I don't want them to see and that bothers me. My prayer is that I can handle frustration in a healthy and productive way without acting out my first reaction.

When I raise my tone of voice or threaten unnecessary retribution to my kids, it doesn't take long for the shame to settle in on me. I am humbled by my failures and wish that the lessons that I have learned stuck with me longer than they do. I admit that I am quick to talk to my kids when I've blown it and apologize for the way I have responded; I just hope that they don't emulate me in those times of my failures. It's hard being a dad sometimes but I am working daily on how to love my family in a godly way, a way that builds up rather than tears down.

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