Thursday, October 23, 2014

Patience with others

As a mother my patience with my children often grows too thin, I know, I'm really unique, but my five year old has a way of teaching me how to be a little more understanding of her five-year-old perspective.

She's been afraid of the dark for as long as I can remember, and lately I haven't had much patience with her. I become annoyed when she screams in the dark, or when she insists on sleeping with her door open, even though she has two night lights and shares the room with her sister. I struggle to understand her fear, when night after night she sleeps safely in the dark, right next door to her mommy and daddy. I try to rationalize with her, to prove that her fear is baseless, and I tell her at some point she needs to just get over it. Then one evening after the millionth time of attempting to reason, the following conversation occurred:

Hannah: Mommy, what are you afraid of?
Me: Dead bodies.
Hannah: Well, how would you feel if you had to sleep in a room full of dead bodies?

I had no response, because clearly I would be absolutely terrified and nobody would be able to talk sense into me about why I shouldn't be scared to sleep in a room full of dead bodies. Nobody would be able to quell that fear for me. No amount of reasoning could be used to make grown up me feel good in that situation, so how did I expect my five year old to feel safe.

Later on, we came across the image of Heath Ledger's Joker. I'm confident she's never seen The Dark Knight, she's hardly watched anything beyond PBS, but she said to me, "Mom, that's the guy who comes in my dreams!" I was shocked, I didn't know what to do. She said a similar thing while walking down the Halloween aisle at Walmart when we came across a cluster of scary masks. She pointed out a scary clown mask and said, "Oh, what is his name? He's the guy from my dreams!"

Well no wonder she's terrified.

All too often we tend to dismiss others fears and pain, just because they seem silly and irrational to us. If we were to examine our fears through the eyes of another, we may find them silly and irrational too, but all of us have fears and hopes. We all experience dread and desire. We need to learn to have patience with those around us, even though, perhaps especially because, they are different.

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