I'm not a parent, but I've always been interested in what separates good ones from bad ones. There's no one factor, of course. Love is important but you do not have to look far to see that it's not enough.
Love expresses itself in so many ways. Some are healthy and others are not.
What more than love makes someone a kickass mother or father?
Again, there's still more than one ingredient. The stew that is the parent-child relationship is rich, complex and nourishing.
There is one thing, though, that all great parents seem to have.
It's something that can improve any relationship and feels especially important with kids.
This magic spice is a quality that, when you embrace it, makes everything you do better and easier.
The miracle ingredient is patience.
Everyone knows that children are exhausting and annoying. The people who love their kids seem to say this more than anyone. And it's true. They're loud, messy, ungrateful and unreasonable.
That's part of their charm. It's also a big chunk of the stress.
If an adult wants to go to the park and you offer to drive them, they'll be grateful. A child might run around the house, screaming with joy, and then chuck a tantrum when you tell them to put on their shoes so you can go.
How do you reason with that? Add a little sleep deprivation to the mix and, after the first ten hours, this stops being funny.
No one would blame you for feeling frazzled.
The superhero parents among us stay patient despite everything.
They keep their cool, they do not give in to nagging and they never take the easy way out.
How many moments do you wish you could do over because you lost patience?
There's a reason why they call it a virtue. It's one of those foundational skills that make everything else easier.
And, like many skills, self-hypnosis is the key to quickly mastering it. The act of learning self-hypnosis develops your patience. It trains your mind to keep its attention and stay with the moment.
Once you're in a trance, you can take this further. The more you keep your mind on task, the more patient you become.
Impatience only arises in two situations: when you think about how long you've been doing something, or when you look forward to something in the future. You can be nothing but patient in the moment. Train your mind to see each moment as a fresh experience.
This is how children see the world. This is why they can play the same game or watch the same movie over and over. They do not dwell on the fact that they've seen it, because each time through adds something new.
There's wisdom to this outlook on life. So do not fight your kids on this – join them. See your moment as if it's the first time. It's easy to be patient when you're mesmerized with wonder.