We’ve had the great experience of having three of our adult children, their spouses, and children live with us at separate times. It has been great fun to be a full time grandma and enjoy once again observing the early learning of little ones. One day as I sat outside the entrance to the kitchen I overheard the following interchange.
Two-year-old Ethan was sitting in the high chair squealing for his Cheerios. Grandpa Marv said to Ethan, “Don’t you know what patience is?” Four-year-old Eliza walked intelligently up to the high chair and said, “Ethan, patience means, Be Quiet!”
I had to smile at that! As parents and grandparents we tend to do what we can to teach children what certain qualities of character look like. Patient people are quiet, patient people wait, patient people don’t whine. This is how patient people act. But most of us know that just because we’re quiet, wait, and don’t whine it doesn’t necessarily mean we, in fact, possess the quality of patience.
Many of us come to the 12 Steps out of a desperate need to change our behavior, but one of the fundamental aspects of recovery is a true, heart deep change of character. The foundation of all action is character. Step 6 says, “Become entirely ready to have God remove all your character weaknesses.” In other words, become ready to have God change you on a level you have not been able to achieve on your own. Step 7 says, “Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings.” Acting patient, kind, grateful, loving etc. is no substitute for being patient, kind, forgiving, loving, and hopeful.
Until I involve God in the formation of my character I will always be an actress who thinks “patience means be quiet,” “gratitude means say thanks you,” and “kindness means share your stuff with other people!” Acting is only good as far as it goes. It might help Grandpa have a more peaceful breakfast in a house full of grandkids, but lasting change of behavior required a real change of character.
By Nannette W.
Posted Sunday, October 12, 2008
Copyright 2008 by Nannette W. All right reserved.
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