Develop the Patience Muscle
Updated: Nov 19, 2019
This week my dear friends I want to address the topic of patience. The struggle with patience is not exclusive to children, we adults battle it as well. Waiting can be so frustrating, especially now that we have become so accustomed to getting such quick results with certain things. At the moment, I am overseas in Greece, and am fortunate enough to conduct business and communicate with family and friends over an internet phone, through Messenger, and via e-mails. It was not that many years ago that I actually had to write letters, and the recipient had to wait two weeks to receive them. Convenience has spoiled us a little. But most adults remember a time before being able to instantly download programs, books and music - before we all had PCs, laptops, tablets, cell phones, e-mail, Twitter, Facebook and Google, We had to research things in the library, we used corded phones indoors and pay phones when we were out, and we had to wait until our film was developed to see our pictures. But children do not have the same frame of reference. They have been born into this instant results world and cannot imagine having to wait for some of these things, which may have in turn made them a bit more impatient.
Waiting sometimes is inevitable, especially because there is a natural order to some things. Patience has been compared to a muscle that needs to be developed. We know that to develop a muscle properly takes time, and it can be quite uncomfortable. In fact, a muscle expands when it stretches and develops small tears, and then heals itself stronger. The same is true with a seed that develops into a plant. It takes time once the seed is planted to break open, develop roots and finally sprout. These are great examples to use for children to teach them patience. The only way we can become more patient is to learn to wait for things. Since we are going to periodically have to wait, we might as well try to find a way to enjoy the waiting period. When you talk to your children about being patient, ask them to create a list of things they could do during short and longer waiting periods. Give them a few scenarios that might apply in their life like, “What would you do if you had to wait at the doctor’s office, or the supermarket check-out line, or if you were in the car on a long-distance ride?” If they have a plan in place ahead of time, it might make them a little more patient and less irritable during the waiting game. This may make the experience a little more enjoyable for them as well as those around them. Maybe you could come up with a list of your own; if they see you being patient and enjoying the waiting game, they might just follow your example.