When learning patience feels like a kick in the head

I am not a patient person. I don’t necessarily mean I can’t wait around for things, though that is typically true, I mean I have very little patience for people. Or situations. I hope I’m not tarnishing anyone’s perception of me – it’s just the truth. I have noticed that throughout my pregnancy this trait has not clockdiminished. In fact, I had to apologize to my husband recently because I am becoming more frank and less careful with my words by the minute. It’s a work in progress for me.

Carrying around a child 24/7, while beautiful and amazing, and blah blah blah, is tough. It hurts. I’m tired. My usually less than sunny disposition is now, well, something more akin to a blizzard. I have caught myself just plain being not nice lately.

In the midst of my struggle to remain sweet, I teach middle
school. It isn’t exactly conducive to feeding my positive energy. In college, all my professors (well, almost all of them) would remind us regularly: sarcasm has no place in the classroom. I try… I try so hard but sometimes the only logical response to a question like “Do I have to turn the homework in to get credit for it” is a sarcastic irritated-gifquip.

Now, all of this is not just a confession, I’m getting somewhere. I have one student in particular, I’ll call him Jonah, and he is a real challenge to me. He is sweet, but let’s be honest. He doesn’t have an ounce of common sense in his body. He’s the one that asks me the question that I just answered. He’s the one that asks me the questions whose answers are on the board. He’s the one who asks me how his grades are so bad when he hasn’t turned in an assignment in three weeks. I want to like him, but he pushes at all of my buttons almost daily.

Jonah is just one of those kids who becomes one of those adults who is the reason we need warning labels on things like hot coffee and blenders. I find my patience wearing thin with him on a pretty regular basis. “Jonah, the middle of a lecture is not the time to get up and ask me when you can make up a missing assignment.” “Jonah, please do not try to sharpen your pencil on the SUPER LOUD wall sharpener while a student is giving a presentation.” If you’ve ever worked with kids, you know the type.

There’s a saying: “Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a battle.”

Nobody really knows who said it first, but it doesn’t matter. The truth still kindremains – every single person is dealing with their own stuff that you don’t know about. I have spoken with Jonah’s mom; I know she’s a single mother. But she keeps him in football, which I silently judged because he’s failing everything. Yesterday though, I received a report of which of my students is homeless and/or in foster care. Guess what? Jonah is homeless. I don’t know any of the extenuating circumstances, but who cares? The bottom line is that maybe Jonah has a hard time listening because he’s preoccupied with not having a place to live. Maybe Jonah doesn’t have common sense because he’s too busy just trying to make it in life. Maybe mom keeps him in football because it’s the only stability he gets.

This child has probably dealt with more in his 12 years of life than most people will deal with way into adulthood. Now. This is not to say that occasionally I won’t still get frustrated with Jonah. But God is teaching me something about patience, and it’s probably as obvious to you as it is to me now.

I’m so thankful that God is more understanding of me than I am of others.

That is all.

6 thoughts on “When learning patience feels like a kick in the head

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