The priest who helped my husband and I with our marriage preparation got us to read Covenanted Happiness: Love and Commitment in Marriage by Monsignor Cormac Burke. I randomly came across the book again, and found a chapter is called Parents, Children, and the Rules of Life.

…parents need to exercise a very strict control over their own reactions. When they feel the impulse to correct or punish something they feel is wrong in their children, it would always be wise for them to take time off to ask themselves: “But is this really wrong before God?”

Does God find hairbands annoying, too? Because I certainly do. And when my daughter (of the super straight slippery hair) was three or four, she and I were on opposite sides of the Battle Regarding Hairbands. Instead of holding her hair back neatly, hairbands slipped and slid around, making her look more of a mess. They drove me up the wall. If she based the relative importance of Not Wearing Hairbands in the Great Scheme of Things on the level of my reactions, she probably would have concluded that wearing them was a mortal sin. Which it is not.

I pray for patience and the grace to be gentle, and it really helps during those times when my children engage in Super Annoying But Not Morally Wrong behaviour. I pray of the courage to apologize when I step out of line and lose my temper over something unimportant. This is important if I want my children to grow up with a good understanding of the true nature of sin. This is also important if I want my children to be bold, fearless and audacious in answering God’s call. I know that God’s plan for my children is much bigger than the bounderies of my imagination, not to mention my patience.

It might even involve hairbands.