Patience and kindness isn't about letting your kids run all over you - it's about loving them even in the hardest of moments. It's about treating them as God would treat his own children. It's about staying calm and being a good example. I'm the first to say that I'm not great at any of those things, having three kids - 5, 3.5 and 2 - my life is filled with chaos. When you've spent hours listening to crying, whining and fighting, it's not easy to keep your cool. I'm heard the words, "Would you just STOP?!" come out of my mouth so many times I've lost count. Does that make me a bad parent? No - I'm sure all parents of young children have been in the same boat. Does it make me want to be a better parent? Yes. I want to be the best example of love, kindness and patience that my children have. If they're not learning it at home then how can I expect them to know how to treat others including their own siblings?
Having a child with special needs is such a double-edged sword. JD has made me a better person. I've had to learn to have so much more patience, learn to keep my cool even during the most difficult tantrums, and learn to put myself in the shoes of others before making any sort of judgement. But having a child with special needs also brings a lot more stress into your life. The day-after-day work involved can bring even the most patient person to their wit's end.
Reading the Corinthians verse today reminded me that love is so much more than a feeling - it's an action. I might not always be happy with those that I love, but if I respond with preserving kindness and patience then I'm doing the best I can do. Positive reinforcement is an amazing thing, the hardest part is putting it into action.