One of the hardest things to teach a child is patience. However, our mistakes start early on. We rush to feed, clean, or entertain a wailing baby. Unfortunately, we continue down this path as the kids grow older. In western society, we want everything now and value speedy delivery over anything else. When we parents have such a struggle with patience, how do we teach it to our children?
Patience is Worth the Wait
The golden rule of patience is “good things come to those that wait.” This truism can be seen in almost any aspect of life. For example, A good meal is almost never available in an instant. We save money to be able to buy a bigger or better house, car, or TV. We even wait in line to get seats in better restaurants or entertaining shows. Although we may struggle with patience, we can point to these common examples to teach our children the value of patience. Heck, we might even teach ourselves to do better in this area.
Instant is Easily Forgotten
The flip-side of good things and patience is the low value of easy things. A good example of this is some of the popular games our kids play. Geometry dash is designed to be difficult no matter what level is attempted. Thus, it is rewarding to clear a level. Similarly, early levels of pay to add on games like Candy Crush are easy and easily forgotten. It is the higher levels that take a lot of time and work to complete. Thus, these are more memorable and rewarding.
Popular game systems and consoles like Xbox and PlayStation have badges and honors for completing goals. Again, these provide good examples of patience. The easy to win accomplishments, like getting through an introductory tutorial, are hardly noticed. The bigger goals, like long win streaks and difficult quest lines, are something to be proud of.
Teach By Example
This is all well and good, but how about some practical examples? One of the best ways to teach patience is to embrace the waiting. Therefore, rather than gripe about waiting in line, turn the time into a positive. Point out that the time spent in line at a grocery store gives you a chance to catch up on the latest TV guide or gossip magazine. Waiting for a seat at a restaurant is a good time to catch up on how everyone’s day has gone. Waiting for Christmas gives time to guess at what sort of presents are under the tree.
As you can see, there are daily opportunities to teach patience. However, we have to recognize them. Also, we have to have enough patience to pass it on. In the end, a great way to teach patience is to practice what we preach. In the end, this helps all of us enjoy life a little more. So, let’s hurry up and start waiting.