The Problem With Being Annoyed
"Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment."C.S. Lewis
I was calling my kids from downstairs because a package had arrived in their name. When the testy voice replied to me with the three-syllable "Whaaat?" I was tempted to throw the box away and make sure they never saw the gift.
I was so annoyed I barked a few choice orders and let my children know they were jumping all over my very last nerve.
Why do the kids have to act irritated by the slightest inconvenience? Where in the world do kids get their attitude?
The thoughts flew across my brain then stuck in front of my mind as I realized I was demonstrating the 48-year-old version of an annoyed child. I discovered I was looking in a mirror. My kids had learned their impatience at the foot of a master teacher: me.
Funny how that happens.
In fact, I recognized I actually had blown it on three levels. Not only did I demonstrate how to mimic the subtle (or, maybe NOT so subtle) annoyed tone, but I also missed the opportunity to correct their behavior in the moment, AND I missed the chance to model the approach I wanted to see.
It's a good thing parents can't be called out on strikes.
Annoyance is an ugly way to respond. Patience is always a more attractive option.