“Honey, you don’t have to press down so hard to spread the peanut butter,” I said to my young daughter during the making PB & J lesson 101.
After four dips into the jar and a bit of spreading, she’d torn the bread.
“My bread has holes in it, Mommy. I don’t want holes in my sandwich. The jelly will fall out. You make it,” she whined as she bumped the peanut butter-encrusted knife with her elbow, knocking it to the floor.
“Patience is a virtue,” rang in my ears from the numerous times my husband counseled our children. And as a thirty-something-year-old mom at the time, I needed it too.
As we raised our children, I tried to model what I taught them, including the need to obey God and be patient with others. Some days I wondered if counting to 100 through gritted teeth counted as long-suffering—especially when the kiddos balked at learning how to dust or fold laundry.
Children of all ages need instruction, and those who love them and teach them need patience—lots of it. Would you agree it’s easier and quicker to do a task than teach a young child how to complete it? Teaching a fifteen-year-old to drive or a seventeen-year-old to balance a budget is neither simple nor fast. Still, children must learn, adults must teach, and the rewards make the efforts worthwhile.
As parents, we have the responsibility and the honor to equip children to love God, treat others with kindness and patience, and lead productive lives. During the learning phases of childhood, parental patience is a valued commodity which oils the working parts of a family.
Patience reports for duty each morning of family life, but sometime between lunch and dinner time, the slippery virtue slides under the sofa and camouflages itself amid the dust bunnies. During the afternoon and evening, what are the adults in charge to do?
Success from mustering our own patience is short-lived.
It’s a daily challenge.
God, our perfect Father, is long-suffering with us as He equips us to meet the challenge. God, who as full of compassion as Psalm 86:15 tell us, provides the patience we need through His Word, the Spirit’s work in us, and prayer.
“You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth”Psalm 86:15 NKJV
The Bible includes Christ-like traits Christians should exhibit. Patience is a “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23). Through the Holy Spirit’s work, His characteristics shine through our humanness as we seek Him. Although sometimes we yield to impatience, we can confess our sin and receive forgiveness from God, our patient Father.
Each day we can pray, “Heavenly Father, thank You for being patient with me, and thank You for these precious children. Fill me with Your Spirit and help me be patient today.”
Ephesians 4:1-2 urges us to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.
Let’s consider some strategies for developing patience with those we love.
Five Ways to Develop Patience for Teaching Children
- Imitate God.
Ephesians 5:1 teaches, Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. When we draw closer to God and learn more about His character, we exemplify the characteristics of our heavenly Father and our children learn His traits from us.
- Plan for optimal teaching times.
Avoid teaching new skills when you or your children are tired. Complete the task along with them for a few days, then gradually allow them to assume responsibility.
- Allow extra time for making learning enjoyable.
When I taught my four-year-old granddaughter how to make cookies, her favorite part was making handprints in the extra flour. She giggled when I did the same. Cookie production took a bit longer when she was young, but now that she’s a teenager, she can make cookies on her own and cherish the memories of Gigi’s flour handprints.
- Ask for forgiveness, then forgive yourself.
When you realize you’ve been impatient, acknowledge your error to God and family members. Then forgive yourself and move on. God is patient with us as we learn to demonstrate patience with our children.
- Tape this verse to your mirror:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patienceColossians 3:12-13
As you select clothes for the day, ask God to help you dress your heart with patience.
Patience is a virtue and one of God’s qualities we can mirror when we teach life skills to our precious children. #momlife #parenting @jeanniewaters44Tweet
*All Scripture verses are taken from the ESV unless otherwise indicated.
(Cover photo courtesy of Anna Earl on Unsplash.)