November 2011 – Patience
Patience is the quality of waiting with a calm outlook.
A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else. ~George Savile
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Endurance is nobler than strength and patience than beauty. ~John Ruskin
Genius is eternal patience. ~Michelangelo
Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself. ~Saint Frances de Sales
Teach Your Child to Be Patient
Patience is a virtue, or so they say. But being patient is a concept that is normally not experienced or commonly known, especially with children, unless taught. When there is so much to be anxious about in this world, it’s understandable that children simply don’t have the patience to wait. With his or her birthday, the big game, Christmas, New Year, summer vacation, etc., it seems like all children do is anticipate the next big event to happen in their life.
With “I can’t wait for…” or “Are we there yet?” being frequently spoken by children, the best way to fight impatience is to teach patience. Patience isn’t merely a great quality for children to have right now; it will continue to help children be successful in their adult lives as well. Patience can lead to self-control, understanding of how things work, maintaining and overcoming adversities in their adult lives, and developing positive social and interpersonal relationships.
It is adamantly preprogrammed in children to be impatient—although that doesn’t make it right. Just as young children have to learn how to walk and talk, they need to learn how to be patient. It starts with parents showing patience to their children, whether we are on a time constraint or not. For instance, you have to run an errand, it is time to leave the house, and you want your children to pick up their toys first. Try to reinforce the theory of patience and simply give them a hand (without doing it for them). “We have to leave the house in two minutes, so let me help you pick up your toys so we can leave quickly.”
Sooner or later (be patient and it will probably be later than sooner), children will begin to understand everything we experience will need an element of patience. When you and your child are waiting for an appointment in the waiting room, talk about taking turns and how everyone has to await their turn patiently. “We are after another person before we get to see the doctor; we have to be patient and wait for them to call our name just like all the other children. While we are being patient, we can always do something to help pass the time, like read this book.”
If your child expressed patient behavior at the doctor’s office, or wherever it is they need to wait, reward their behavior. “I thought you did a very good job being patient while we were waiting. To thank you, please pick what you would like to do next. Should your children show a behavior that was not appropriate, take a moment to explain the importance of being patient, and instruct them that when they do show patience, they will be rewarded.
Main points to address:
- Don’t reward impatience, but reward patience.
- Show patience especially with time constraints.
When children get excited, they are ready to receive “right now,” yet so many things take time to obtain. A great lesson for your children to learn is how most things take time to create, receive, and/or obtain. Build something with your child that takes time, such as a tree house, an outside playhouse, doghouse, or any other time-intensive project. As you work on this project day-by-day or week-by-week, it will demonstrate to your children how patience and persistence will ultimately make your goal successful.
Another great way to teach your young children about patience is to talk about future events such as holidays, birthdays, or family events that will be taking place. Sit down with your children, take out a calendar, and count the days together until the day the event will take place. Point out how patience will play a role in waiting for that special event.
Main points to address:
- Build something that takes time.
- Talk to your children about exciting events and the time it takes for the events to arrive.
Once your children get older and have the ability to understand pros and cons of decision making, allow them to help make decisions in the family unit. Understanding decision-making can make a big difference in your child’s learning patience. Even if you don’t fully allow your child’s opinion to make or break your decision, allow them to be interactive with their opinions.
Acceptance, understanding, and patience are all similar qualities, each maintaining one another. When you understand you accept; when you accept you allow change; when you allow change you are patient. Accept your child’s desires and opinions as important beliefs and theories. Even if your child’s desires and opinions differ from your own, allowing them to be an individual will help maintain the patience in your child.
Main points to address:
- Allow your child to be interactive in decision-making.
- Accept your child’s desires.