There are a great many things that we excel at today. One of them is developing technologies that allow for a higher level of convenience in our lives. The techno-dreamers have blown our minds with their creations. If you are like me and you remember having to use a pencil to wind your tape, because your tape deck ate your favorite cassette then you have the ability to stop and think how amazing it is that we chose music from any album of any artist and play it anytime we want. Same thing goes for movies, we don’t have to go to the theater or a video rental store, many titles are online and can be streamed to our TV, tablet, or phone.
This is the world that we are raising our kids. They are frustrated by buffering and slow downloads. They have more food style options than even we knew growing up. The problem isn’t lack of choice, but whether it will be in front of them when they want it.
We have been told that patience is a virtue and in the Christian Scriptures, it is listed as evidence of holiness and love. Apart from that, what is there to convince us of the benefits of patience for our children and us?
The first thing that I notice is that none of us can escape waiting. It is a part of living and cannot be avoided or eliminated. If you live in more populated areas you have to wait in traffic (although even when you live in more remote locations there are times, like the Fourth of July, when you have to just wait for everyone else as we leave after the fireworks show or the Labor Day Parade).
We have to wait to see if the treatment will work in the way that we hope. We have to wait to see if we are accepted into the school we applied to or got the job that we have applied for employment. We have to wait to see if he or she feels the same way about us as we feel about them.
We all have to wait, but that is not the same as demonstrating patient. For me, I see someone who is patient as one who has peace in their heart so that waiting does not send them into fits of anger or extensive complaining.
So how do we help our children develop this in their lives, especially since this is far from a natural trait? Remember my example about our technological advances that we all enjoy so much? Here is what I have started doing. Chose a day or night that will be tech free and replace it with a Lego night, read a story book aloud, make a meal together (make your own pizza on Naan bread is a favorite in my house), go to a museum, drive somewhere and “gasp” not turn on a movie or music. Moment of truth; that last one is really hard, especially when we drive to see family and friends who live out of state, but we try to make space in the trip that does not include technology.
The trick in any of this is not just giving them opportunities to wait, but encourage them to spend that time giving thanks for what they have, look at the world and explain what they see, or talk about what the experienced today. As always, these traits don’t take if we aren’t working on them ourselves. Good luck dads!