Teaching Your Children to Wait
by Joey and Carla Link
“I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.”
Oh how hard it is to wait, is it not, especially if what you are waiting for is something you really, really want. We have friends whose young son has just been diagnosed with leukemia. We don’t want to wait for the course of treatment to, with God’s blessing, heal him. We want it now!
Waiting is a fruit of the Spirit. It is called “patience”. What do you think of when you hear this word? We looked it up in the dictionary. It says,
“Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay,
trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
How many times a day do you ask your children to be patient? With young children, it is more effective to use the word “wait”. Psalm 37:7 says,
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”
Patience is a difficult skill to learn if you have a child with the Sanguine temperament. Our youngest daughter struggled with this virtue. We can still picture her in our mind as a little girl dancing in place as she waited for us to give her our attention. Part of the agony of waiting for her was to be still. I am not sure there was a night at the dinner table for years that one of us didn’t tell her to “sit still.” So when we read the verse above, “Be still before the Lord…” to still our minds and bodies is the way to become patient and learn to wait.
How often do you ask your child to be still? What do you mean when you say this? Does your child know what you mean? How often do you still yourself when you are stuck in traffic? Or do you continuously tap your hand against the steering wheel and mutter and complain?
When we tell our children to be patient, we know we are going to get them where they need to be, or to what they need or want to be doing. We may not give them what they want, but we know they aren’t going to go hungry and we, as parents will always protect them. The person who is waiting, child or adult needs to trust the one he is waiting on or for.
Do your children see you trusting God for the big and little things in your life?
Or do they see by your actions more often than not you shaking your fist at God and saying “I want it now!”
One way to work on being willing to wait on God is to practice being thankful for what He has already given us, instead of focusing on what we think He hasn’t. Teaching your children to be thankful starts with you. This is the month the world stops and celebrates a day of thanksgiving. Why not come up with a family project to work on showing God how thankful you are for your material blessings, your family, your friends and those around you.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.”