We can learn patience from animal mothers. I happened upon a You Tube clip of a mother lion moving her two cubs to a new location. When she had carried the first cub to the new place and had carried the second cub a ways and needed a rest, she put him down, standing over him to pant and catch her breath. After a while she tried to pick him up again but he wasn’t having it. He turned on his back and batted at her mouth, giving a little snarl to let her know he didn’t want to ride any further.
She tried several times to get his head into her mouth, but the little cub squirmed away and refused to present his back to her. Lying flat on his back, he prevented her from grasping the back of his head and neck. Finally she walked away and the cub followed. He walked the rest of the way to his new home.
What she did not do was snarl or bat him back when he batted her. Nor did she get rough or try to force him. He was utterly safe with her while telling her he had outgrown riding.
My own experience as a mother taught me that young children need to grow up at their own pace, a day at a time. One day they need help and the next they can do it themselves. They want up and pretty soon they want down. The parent protects the child from the wider world and also from her own impatience.
My grown son recently said to me, “I figure the most important part of being a father is kindness.” He is not the only one. Lots of dads today as well as moms are aware of the need for kindness. They have discovered something our ancestors didn’t know, they you don’t have to be unkind to be firm–and they you can allow children to be themselves because they are essentially good and capable.