Over the few short years of my adult life the single most important thing I have learned is that there are only three ways to get good at something: practice, practice, and practice. Unfortunately, just knowing that you have to work hard to get good at something, doesn’t make the actual process of working and practicing any easier.
Which is why, not more than a few weeks ago I was pulling my hair out with frustration at not being the foster parent I really wanted to be. I was coming unglued inside, wondering if I had made the right decision, trying to figure out what had happened to my formerly tranquil life. In short I was in short supply of patience.
Probably my least favourite verse in the Bible is the one that says, “The trying of your faith worketh patience.” It basically means that if you want to have more patience you have to endure lots of things that make you impatient, which is why when I was coming up my dad always told me, “Son, never pray for patience.” And though there were plenty of things my dad told me that I might not have heeded as much as I should have, that one I followed.
And now I’m sorely in need of patience and I’m getting it the only way you can get patience. Practice, practice, practice.
But the good news is, the trying of your faith does work patience. Or, to put it differently, there’s only so much hair you can pull out before you go completely bald.
Which is why I’m happy to announce…drum roll please…the return of my sanity!
Okay, so maybe that’s just a bit more dramatic than necessary, but it’s true. Things have really been looking up over the last few weeks. My nerves haven’t been as frazzled, my patience has not been wearing as thin, and on the whole me and Ashley and the kids have just been happier.
I think it helps too that we’re all finally figuring out our roles in the household. For instance, I am figuring out that I can tell the kids what to do, and the kids are figuring out that it’s really a good idea to listen and obey.
There are still issues to work on, still things I need to strengthen in my life to become the man and the father I would like to be, but at least now I feel like I’m on the right track.
I still worry whether the things I have tried to teach Thing 1 and Thing 2 will have any real and lasting impact on their lives, but I can say without question that they have had an impact on mine. I feel surer of myself, more confident that I can be the father I need to be to nurture my own child into the person he ought to be when the time comes.
Because, like everything else worth having in life, being a good parent doesn’t come easy; it takes hard work and practice.
And thanks to Thing 1 and Thing 2 trying my faith, I’m that much closer to where I need to be.