Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.
Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. Proverbs 14:29
Does your child struggle with patience? I think every one does and if you can help your child learn the importance of working on his patience muscle when he’s young, he will have more of it when he gets older.
Perhaps your child is waiting patiently for something to happen. Something that he’s worked hard for but seems to be taking forever.
Be patient, you may tell your child, and your child may sigh and say, “I am being patient!”
But being patient doesn’t just mean that you are waiting for something you want, it’s much more than that.
Patience isn’t the ability to wait, but the ability to wait with a joyful attitude of servanthood.*
So what does that look like?
If your child is working to earn a certain spot on his sports team, then in the waiting time, being patient means that he looks at other ways he can cheerfully help the team. Maybe it’s playing a different position or playing backup on his desired position.
Or maybe your child is waiting to be old enough to earn certain privileges, like more video game time, or a later curfew. Being patient means that he understands as he waits he must prove he’s responsible and he must not complain about the restrictions.
This is a hard lesson to learn. I saw my son go through this his junior year of high school football. For 4 years–in middle school and the first two years of high school–he’d been the starting QB, but when he got to varsity, he was sitting behind a section-leading player and saw very little time on the field.
It was a tremendously hard year for him but he did his best as backup, and was always ready when called into the game. Learning to cheerfully help the team didn’t come easy for him, but as the season progressed, he was able to peacefully accept his role. That’s what true patience looks like.
I use sports because it’s such a great example, but maybe your child is waiting to get her drivers’ license and even though she’s 16, you don’t feel she’s ready. Waiting for her means she’s responsible in other areas and abides by your rules without having a bad attitude. When she waits with that attitude, it lets you know that perhaps she may be ready sooner than you think.
Waiting is a concept that is not easy for youth athletes or for adults to accept and learn through. But when it does sink in, it will build iron in your child’s soul. He’ll be just a bit more ready for when the next test comes along–and it will.