In a culture of instant mashed potatoes, instant messaging, and instant entertainment, our children know little of the concept of waiting.
This became even clearer to me as I prepared the last holiday feast with my daughters at my side. Mom, this is sooooo much work! they proclaimed after all the dicing and mixing and table setting.
Sad thing was, I found myself feeling the same way!
It strikes me that waiting in the form of patience is no longer seen as a virtue. It is considered our mortal enemy. However, I am not at all sure that God is embracing our view on life.
His interactions throughout the pages of the Bible are filled with instructions to His children to wait.
So, if we want our children to mature in Godliness, we will have no choice but to go against the cultural tide and train our kids to wait.
Here are some ideas I have thought to help our family.
1. Recognize, as a parent, that your kids are handicapped in waiting for three reasons. First, youthfulness is impulsive by nature. Second, technology and modern civilization has removed many natural opportunities to learn waiting. Third, speed is seen as a sign of strength and value in our world.
2. Teach point #1 to your children intentionally. Show them scriptural examples of waiting:
Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for their son Isaac.
Jacob waited seven years and a week for his wife Rachel, and then had to work for her father another seven years after the wedding.
After waiting all his “just and devout” life, Simeon finally got to see and hold the baby Jesus.
After Jesus waited 30 years and fasted for 40 days, He was launched into His ministry.
3. Intentionally do a few things “the hard and slow way” just to give your family a perspective. Though we own a leaf blower, Doug insists we get everyone out in the fall with rakes! And at least a few times a year, we need to shred our own cheese.
4. Laugh with your kids while you do #3. It will bother your “speed” ideology as much as theirs.
5. Encourage your family when you observe them displaying the skill of waiting. Compliment patient behavior. Let them experience something other than frustration when life moves slower than they want.
6. Cultivate the adventure quality of youth. Teens and young adults hate to wait, but love the extreme. Help them to understand that waiting for God IS the extreme…..and the Spirit-led life is filled with drama when we can learn to wait on His voice! Serving Jesus is a blast.
What others ways have you discovered to help your children learn patience? Please share them in the comments.
Image courtesy of Elizabeth French