The Patience Shortcut

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12 Feb 2014

Sitting on deck chairs enjoying vacationIn this weeks Parsha, after the Chet HaEgel, the sin of the golden calf, Moshe is granted a vision of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy which describe the merciful and forgiving nature of God:

“The Lord! The Lord! God, Compassionate and Gracious, Slow to anger and Abundant in Kindness and Truth, Preserver of kindness for thousands of generations, Forgiver of iniquity, willful sin, and error, and Who Cleanses (but does not cleanse completely, recalling the iniquity of parents upon children and grandchildren, to the third and fourth generations)” (34:6-7).

So of course as a Parent Educator, I always think about how this applies to parenting.

One of the thirteen attributes of mercy is Erech Apayim, Slow to anger, or patience. Now that I have children, I know patience is one of those virtues needed to survive. If you don’t have patience you are going to be losing it a lot with your kids. This is something that I think about and struggle with often as a parent.

I got a great idea from my chevruta (I have learned over the past 5 years with a wonderful woman who is so modest, she would not be happy if I put her name down here). When we meet we often learn and talk about our challenges with tefillah, kavana, and just finding the time to pray.

As a Mom, I am always looking for shortcuts, yes, even when it comes to prayer! So I was glad that in one of our conversations she shared with me that every morning when she wakes up she says:

“G-d, let me emulate your ways by being kind and patient (slow to anger) with my husband and my children.”

It makes so much sense. Being slow to anger, patient, is tough when you have kids. And really one can only accomplish this with G-d’s help.

I thought this was a great idea. I have lots of Post- its and scribbles in my siddur, names of cholim, singles, and people going through difficult situations, but this Post- it, I put right next to Modeh Ani so I can say it first thing every morning. It’s just that important. (You can also have this in mind in Ashrei, in the 9th verse where it says, “Gracious and merciful is G-d, slow to anger and great in bestowing kindness.” )

There are other ways that we can build our patience and I have written about them here- eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising, and making sure to have Mommy alone time. But praying to emulate G-d is probably the best way, the “shortcut,” to strengthen and practice our patience.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.