This morning after I heard: “Watch Thomas! Watch Thomas! Watch Thomas! Watch Thomas!” incessantly for about 20 minutes, I fumbled with the DVR and found Jackson’s favorite show. Ok, maybe it was only 20 seconds but it sure felt longer! Once we got the previews out of the way, he settled down with his breakfast and I started sipping my coffee. That’s when it occurred to me we have a demanding, impatient and articulate 3 year old. But is he more demanding, more impatient than other kids? And just how did he get this way? I’m not sure. And I don’t know if there’s a way to find out. All I can do is reflect on my own experience.
Now that I’ve celebrated my 50th birthday, I can safely engage in the time-honored tradition of the older folks misremembering the past. You know, stuff like walking 5 miles to school up hill in the snow - both ways! For the record, I rode the bus 4 miles each way. 5 miles if Smiley was going to school that day - he had a really, really long drive way!
In our house, if you got to the TV first, you got to pick the shows. On Saturday mornings, or cartoon day as we proclaimed, my brother & I would wake up as early as possible and immediately race to the living room. It might be 6:15 or 6:30. It didn’t matter that cartoons started at 7:00, it only mattered that you got there first so you could pick the shows. And we only had 3 channels to watch so you had to pick wisely. The loser (which was usually me) would complain to Mom and she’d just say, “You know the rules” while the winner would gloat and pick the shows he wanted to watch. And just like that, one of life’s little lessons would be taught about patience and proactivity. And the value of a good alarm clock!
This morning as I scrolled through Jackson’s DVR library: Peppa, Bubble Guppies, Blaze, Dora, Chuggington and, of course, Thomas & Friends, I started to realize his impatience and demanding personality may simply be a product of his environment. He doesn't need to wait. At least not for a TV show. With a touch of a button we can record the entire season. Or just find it on-demand. And that isn’t just for Jackson. It’s the norm for everyone these days.
Knowing this is the world most of us live in, how do we teach our little ones about patience and how do we practice a little patience ourselves?