By Joey & Carla Link
September 13, 2023
It is always good to have things fresh in our minds when reading more about a subject like patience. What is patience? It is “to stay put or to delay doing something until a certain amount of time has passed or until it is scheduled to happen.” (Merriam-Webster) Another way to look at it is to think of it as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.” (Britannica)
We often hear the phrases, “Patience is a virtue” or “Good things come to those who wait.” Learning to be patient yourself is one thing. Living with a spouse with a temperament that is characterized by impatience (Choleric and Sanguine) is another. Teaching your kids, especially those with either of these two temperaments, or those who have the blend of the two is an entirely different matter.
We have talked about what patience looks like and why having patience is so important in other blogs in this series. In last week’s blog, Part 3 in this series, “Do Your Kids Know How to Wait?” we shared two very practical ways you can teach your kids how to have patience. In this final blog in the series, we will share two more things you can do to help your kids learn to be patient.
1. Have each of your kids keep a prayer journal. One of the hardest things for all of us who believe in God to do is to learn to wait on Him to answer our prayers. We want answers immediately, and we want God’s answers to be the same as our answers. Teaching your kids to wait on God’s answers to prayer is even harder. Keeping a journal helps with this because they can see God does indeed answer prayer.
They will have fun decorating the covers. Get markers and stickers for them to do this. One night each week, have them each share one thing they prayed about and how they saw God answer it. Carla and I shared ours too. I had these conversations around the dinner table.
· Ask each of your kids for things you can pray for them about, like to remember to wait patiently. When I (Carla) am with my grandkids, I try to remember to ask each of them what I can pray for them about. I listen to the things they want, then I ask them what their mom and dad are working with them on and I ask if they would like me to pray for that too.
· I write what they share in my prayer journal and ask them if they wrote it in theirs too. From time to time I ask them how God answered their requests. My grandchildren who are old enough to do this are 7, 10 and 12 years.
· I ask them to give me a letter grade for how well they are working on what they shared with me and to write them down in their journal. I ask them if their mom and dad would agree with the grades they give me.
· They are honest in their responses and if they haven’t been doing well, we talk about one thing they can do to work on waiting more patiently, for example.
2. Look for ways you can teach them to wait patiently in their everyday life. Not letting our daughter be the first one in the van when we were out and about is an example of this. This same daughter had a bad habit of interrupting us when we were talking with others. We taught all our kids to use the “interrupt courtesy” we learned in the Growing Kids God’s Way parenting class.
When they wanted to say something to one of us and we were talking to someone else, even if it was on the phone, we told them to put their hand on one of my shoulders or when they were very little, to hold one of my wrists. When there was a natural break in the conversation, we would ask the person to wait a minute then ask our child what he/she wanted to say. Our little Sanguine would keep hold of my wrist while she was waiting for me to ask her what she wanted to tell me and she would dance and twirl around, often jumping up and down. When she did this to either of us, we would point to the ground and she would sit with her hands folded in her lap until we were ready to talk to her.
We know many young moms who have worked with their little ones to wait quietly with their hands folded for their food to be served when they eat. When they have video time, we know families who have their young children each sit on his/her own blanket and they are not allowed to run around and play or video time is over. There are ways to use things that happen in their everyday life to teach them to wait patiently. All the ways we have mentioned you can teach your children to wait patiently are also ways to teach them self-control.
Teaching patience is not a one-time lesson and when you are finished you think they will work on it. As we hope you can see from the things we have shared, it is more a weaving of things for them to think about throughout things that come up every day. Over time, they will get it if you keep at it.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”
Colossians 3:12 ESV