It seems that the Lord has been teaching me lessons about patience for quite some time now. Part of that is by encouraging me to wait on Him. I’ve found that when I skip silence during my day, my impatience leads me to bad decisions and hurtful words. How can I begin now to teach my children about patience, so that they can be better equipped to hear the Lord’s voice one day?
Signed, Learning to Wait
What a great question. It’s obvious that you are not only learning the value of waiting, but also the peace that comes when you grow in patience. The greatest void we have in our Christian lives today is making time to wait in the Presence of the Father. If we fill every minute of our day with activity, being silent before Him never has the chance to occur.
Because of our instant society, our children rarely wait for anything. Meals are faster, trips quicker and down time is filled with on-demand entertainment.
In order to intentionally teach your children patience, you will have to think through just how you will implement this into their daily lives.
Here are some ideas to get your creativity going:
- Have younger children wait in their chair while you prepare their plates. Older children can learn to wait by setting the table as well as helping with food preparation. By their third birthday, they can learn how to wait until after your family blessing until they take their first bite.
- If a child isn’t truly hurt when he falls, do not rush to his side or offer help. Tell him he is okay and encourage him to carry on. Think of all the lessons that the Lord has taught you through the patience of pain.
- Refrain from using the DVD player on short haul trips across town. This not only encourages patience, but also conversation.
- Begin teaching your children not to interrupt you or others who are talking. Of course, there are exceptions, but a child who can command instant attention in any conversation is not only learning impatience, but also how to be self-absorbed. Use this method when you are on the phone as well (of course, you may need to limit the length of your calls).
- Teach your children chores that they can accomplish for their age and skill set.
- Don’t drop the activity that you are already doing in order to immediately accomplish a simple task for a child. Let them know how long their wait will be and stick to it. “When I finish chopping this green pepper and taking out the trash, I can help you.” Feel free to give them a simple task to help speed the process along. “If you would take out the trash for me, I can help you quicker.”
- Decide ahead of time how many times you will tolerate your child getting up when you have put them to bed. Learning to self calm and fall asleep, even when they aren’t sleepy yet, is a valuable skill as an adult.
Patience is the ability to bear trials without grumbling. As Christians, we have been called to walk in gentleness and patience (Ephesians 4:1-2). I’m proud of you for being diligent to set this example before your children as well.
Grace and peace, Your Mentor