scan0210Family pictures are always a trial. It really doesn’t matter how big the kids are either. When my husband, Bob was a kid, he was very much a cut up. He liked to get everyone laughing and basically keep the situation a little off center. Of course, his mother really didn’t appreciate that much, and it was even worse, when Bob got Brenda laughing. Brenda found many things that her big brother did to be quite funny, and had a very hard time not laughing about his antics. And as anyone who knows Brenda will attest, once you get Brenda laughing about something, it’s hard to get her to stop. Now most of the time, that is ok, because it really is fun to listen to Brenda’s laugh, but when they were trying to get those pictures taken, Brenda’s laugh, and Bob’s humor were not as appreciated as they were on most other occasions.

On this particular occasion, in about 1968, Bob and Brenda were in rare form, joking with each other quite a bit. Their mother seemed to be handling things pretty well, and their sisters all thought the whole thing was pretty funny too. Their dad, however, was clearly not amused at all. I’m sure that by the time this whole photography session was over, he even had quite a headache. He was always a very easy going, and mostly a soft spoken person, but I would wager that this had taxed his patience to the limit.

I have known this man a long time, and he was always long suffering, but once his patience had ended, he had the ability to blow a gasket with the best of them. At that point, you knew it was time to straighten up your act, and by the look on Bob’s and Brenda’s faces he had reached that point. They were clearly mid-laugh when their dad yelled, “Knock it off!!” At that point there was nothing they could do except to close their mouths tightly and swallow what was left of that laugh. That can make for the funniest of faces as you can clearly see, but I suppose it was better than the alternative, which would have been the spanking they probably deserved.

Everyone has their own parenting styles. Kids can be a trial, and some of us are patient, and some are not. My dad was a person who did his best to resolve issues peacefully, where my mom was one to spank first and talk later. The funny thing was that when Mom got tired of our bickering, she would tell us to, “wait until your dad gets home” which always brought thoughts of terror, although I never figured out why. Dad tried his best to resolve the problem without spanking. His way was to talking it out and I can count the times I was spanked by Dad in my life on one hand…well ok, maybe 2 hands, but it wasn’t much, so I don’t understand to this day why we thought he was going to pound us into sand. I did find out that grounding, by either parent, was very effective too, especially as we got older. It’s real hard to date, when you are grounded.

One thing I took away from my childhood was patience…not that I had anywhere near the patience of my dad. No, I was much more hands on than my dad, and far less patient. My girls quickly learned that if they didn’t want to see that hands on tactic, they had better mind me. After a while, I could snap my fingers, and two little mouths would instantly shut. I guess I had a way of handling things peacefully too…peace and quiet, that is. If the girls didn’t want to be on the receiving end of my hands on tactics, the had better respond quickly to my finger snapping tactic. When my grandkids came along, I had more of my dad’s patience, but they still experienced the hands on tactic occasionally. One thing that my kids and grandkids knew though…I loved them…no matter what.

No matter what type of parenting tactic a parent uses, the main thing is to parent with love, because it makes the discipline easier to take. Your kids will never like your form of discipline anyway, and you have to do what you have to do. It is your job, and you are not their friend, you are their parent. It is your job to teach them how to make it in this world, and one day they will be these wonderful adults, who have taken your lessons and passed them on to their kids. I vividly remember telling my parents after a spanking one time, “I’m NEVER going to spank my kids!!” And all I can say to that is…”Right.”

In a world of instant gratitude, being patient is not well received. We want a diet pill that instantly makes us thin. We charge things so we don’t have to save for them. We want instant income, instant fame, instant expertise, and the list goes on and on.

In The Message version of the Bible, Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?” God want’s us to be content with what we have, and patient enough to wait for him to bring blessings to us. When we get “let-me-help-itis”, we get into trouble.

Being patient is important in everyday life too. We have to work to get where we want to be, and most times the road there takes a while, but isn’t a worthwhile goal worth the trip? There is such a sense of satisfaction when you finally reach a goal you set for yourself. You can be proud of what you have achieved.

The goal of being debt free is such a great goal, and it is Biblical too. Not many people get there, but with hard work and patience it is a goal that can be achieved. Of course the first move to make is, stop charging! Begin to save up for things you want, and pay as much as possible on existing debt. As cards are paid off, add that payment to remaining payments to pay everything off faster. The beauty of this is that you get to spend more of your own money when you aren’t paying interest to other people.

These are just a couple of goal setting ideas, and reasons to take this journey. I’m sure you have goals you want to reach. Be patient and work toward your goals. You can do it, if you don’t give up.

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