This month's resolution has brought one thing into stark relief:
I do very well avoiding and managing anger in most situations. I have known that for a while, but what I have realized more fully this week is that I don't do such a good job when I am dealing with my children - and especially with my youngest daughter. Actually, I do a good job even then (as I rarely raise my voice without a purpose), but the quickly flaring anger generally is limited to our little twinkie and her older siblings. I wonder why that is.
I try very hard to not impose unrealistic expectations on others - to not judge and to allow for influences beyond my (and often their) control. I generally am very patient with them - and it would be hard to classify me as a hard taskmaster. Yet, on occasion, I find my consternation flaring quickly - and I realized today that it almost always is when I am dealing with something that I have said over and over and over again. That led me to an interesting thought.
I get angry most often when I have failed to ensure that something gets done - when they get caught up in something and don't finish what has been assigned, and I then don't follow through and remind them in the moment. I also get angry when my youngest does or says something that I have told her not to do multiple times. There is no maliciousness or contempt in their actions; they simply haven't completed their assignments - or she hasn't internalized fully the lesson I am trying to teach her. That led me to consider the mercy Heavenly Father extends to me as I fail to complete my assignments - how rarely He "yells at me" or "disciplines me" in some other way while I still am internalizing the lessons He is trying to teach me. It also led me to consider the injunction to forgive seventy times seven - a hyperbolic statement that is translated best as "without measure".
Ironically, I do a very good job when I "have cause to be angry". The times when I struggle the most are when I am angry "without a (just) cause". That had not hit me prior to this week, and it has made me think more deeply about how to avoid this as I relate with my kids.