Teaching Patience to our Kids

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control.” -Galatians 5:22,23 NET

Patience is a much maligned character quality in today’s instant gratification culture. We somehow believe that whatever we want should be right at our fingertips. After all, who wants to wait when it is right in front of us for the taking.  However, here it is making the list of those qualities that are produced by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, should we see this quality as important? 

Yes, very important! You and I so often express our impatience with the injustice, cruelty and horrific way that man treats one other but we forget a Holy and Righteous God is witness to all - yet holds off his judgement so that we can be saved. Now that’s patience

Scripture teaches us that it is this quality of God that has allowed us to exist. 

“That day [Day of the Lord] will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat … bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.” -2 Peter 3: 12,15 NIV

When we begin to see that God’s patience has allowed us the opportunity to enter into a relationship with him then how patient should we be with one another? If God does not reject us during our continual discard for  his amazing offer of salvation how much more should we be patient with our fellow offenders. 

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” -Hebrews 11:2-3 NIV

Note: Patience can be translated “forbearance” and “long-suffering”

Patience has been a much misunderstood quality so let me derail some of the falsehoods that have been attached to it.

Patience is not passive: Jesus obediently set aside his rights and endured the cross and made a way for us to be reconciled to God. Don’t get patience confused with being a victim. Jesus was no victim and neither are we when we are patient. In fact, we are being most pro-active when we are choosing to follow God’s path.
Patience is not hopeless: Jesus’ focus was on the “joy set before him”. In other words, he saw our redemption as his ultimate goal and therefore could endure his present suffering. Patience looks beyond the opposition and sees the ultimate goal.
Patience is not weak: It takes the up most strength to withstand the temptation to loose heart and give up. That is why we are warned to find our strength in Jesus’ example and through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit who produces patience in us.

This is just a glimpse of patience from a macro level but as a parent we are also called to develop patience from the micro (day to day) level. It is the ability to show patience in the midst of a trial that is one of the true hallmarks of a follower of Jesus. But like the other beautiful attributes of God they have “real world” applications and when we teach them in our homes they will give our children a greater chance of success in life.  

“He that can have patience can have what he will.” -Benjamin Franklin

Here are some thoughts about how to produce patience in our family:

Don’t Rescue: Don’t be too quick to deliver your child from a difficult situation. I have seen too many adults in my practice who have learned to be helpless because they were “rescued” by their parents from every trial then encountered. 
Model Patience: Talk to your children about the ways you are patiently waiting. But most of all, be an example of patience toward your children. Patiently endure their mistakes and failures and believe that God is doing a good work in them. Don’t give up on them! And in your marriage be an example of patience for one another … it will model for them the way they should relate to their future spouse. Diligently pray for patience:  God desires to give us a depth of His love that is worth all the trails and sorrows that this life can bring and is always faithful. This loving relationship is what we were created for … and it is the fulfillment of our soul’s longings.

We want to share some practical ways to start teaching your children this essential character trait by posting the following article produced by imom.com  in 2012

Good Character for Kids: How to Teach Patience to Your Kid

If there ever were two things that don’t go together naturally, it’s patience and children.  (We think the words, what a patient child, exist only in fiction!)

Let’s face it: lots of adults have a hard time exercising patience from time to time. It can be really hard! But learning to do so is important to a person’s overall character, and therefore worth reaching for. Here are some practical ways to help your children grow in this area at any age.

1. Start Small, Start Short

Start requiring small doses of patience from your child at a very early age—even when they’re toddlers. Of course, you may only be asking them to calm down and wait quietly for 1-2 minutes before you’ll put more milk in the sippy cup, but it’s a start. As your child gets older, you can push them to show patience for longer periods of time until their desires are met.

2. Teach Self-Control

For a child, having patience is a matter of learning that they can and should control their emotions and actions, even when they are anxious, eager, or tired. Require your child to regain some self-control before you fulfill their request. Doing so while they’re acting out will only instill the idea that acting out impatiently isn’t the way to get what you want.

3. Purposeful Delays

In a world where instant gratification is everywhere, parents may need to purposefully delay some things for no other reason but to teach patience. If your daughter wants a new puppy, there may be no real reason for her not to have it now. But waiting for Christmas or her birthday might teach her that she can wait for things that matter, and have it all turn out OK in the end.

Taking Turns

Nothing tests a child’s patience more than having to wait his or her turn for something fun. The only way to get better at this is to practice. If your child struggles with waiting his turn for the swings, make more frequent trips to the park—not less—to reinforce the need to be courteous and patient. The repetition will help him learn to cope with the wait.

Patience and Older Kids

One area where our culture has become increasingly impatient is with consumer habits. Train your older children to manage their buying and to wait until they can truly afford an item before making a purchase. Resist the urge to loan them the last $20 until they’ve truly earned it, unless you want to keep loaning for the rest of their lives.

Article originated @ http://www.imom.com/good-character-for-kids-how-to-teach-patience-to-your-kids/