Consider the truth from this Chinese Proverb, “One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.” Patience helps us slow down, think, and gather more information, granting valuable time to consider other perspectives and alternatives. Instead of making hasty, ill-informed, or selfish decisions, patience can help us proceed more intelligently.
Dangers of Impatience
The unrelenting irritable energy of impatience can contribute to stress-related health problems. If we lack stick-to-itiveness, we become more vulnerable to being derailed from the pursuit of something bigger; any meaningful goal becomes that much more elusive if we don’t have the patience to stay the course. Think of the recent critiques made by the old guard of today’s young workforce, restlessly moving from job to job, rather than hunkering down to learn and grow. As the desire for immediate gratification intersects with delayed attainment, even those with the best intentions can be knocked off track.
The Benefits of Slowing Down
By taking a moment to slow down, we can better regulate our emotions, identify our truest feelings, and make better decisions. The warm, kind, and cooperative characteristics of patience guide us in treating others as we would like to be treated. Patient people are typically more compassionate, more forgiving, and more tolerant of others’ shortcomings, and, as a result, are more likely to have long-lasting friendships.
Dad is only human; pet peeves and other triggers can lead to impatient knee-jerk reactions. To teach patience, we should be diligently self-aware of our own tendencies, take stock, consider, and choose the most appropriate healthy responses, especially in how we raise our children. By being patient, we model this virtue for them to imitate.
Feelings of impatience involve conscious engagement. We can fume about someone’s tardiness, or we can do something productive while we wait. We can hold resentment for not getting a promotion at work or be inspired to improve our skills. By retraining our minds to reframe circumstances with a positive spin, self-regulation can usher in energies of patience and optimism, all while we make the most of our time. Viewing things through a lens of gratitude can help us appreciate our blessings while minimizing desperation for wanting more stuff or better circumstances. Whenever appropriate, carry a book—if someone’s lateness keeps you waiting—you’ll be able to readily convert wasted time into time well spent.
Teaching Children Patience
Every parent has been tortured with the incessant redundancy of, “Are we there yet?” These questions can be converted from annoyance to opportunity: children can learn to read a map, a clock, or GPS navigation. Dry-eraser markers can be used on the refrigerator’s whiteboard to track the days until Christmas (or any event) with a countdown timeline. As children learn to share toys and attention, they become more empathetic and less possessive, all while furthering their social skills.
Some fathers make promises to children, but either don’t make the time to fulfill them or hope kids will get distracted and forget. How can we expect children to learn the value of having patience if we make promises and then don’t come through? The false narrative of lip service can diminish patience’s value, warp the sense of time, and discourage trust. When we make promises to children, we should honor our word, reward their patience, and deliver.
Make Patience a Positive Experience
When taking hungry young children to a restaurant, don’t expect them to wait for an hour; ask the server for bread, popcorn, or veggies before putting in the drink order. Appreciate their struggle with encouraging words, saying things like, “I know it’s hard to wait. This is taking longer than we expected, but you’re doing a great job and I’m proud of you.” By acknowledging our children’s efforts, they’ll be inclined to continue doing their best. When we are waiting, or if we anticipate having to wait, be mindful of fun, silly, and productive ways to help the time fly by.
A father’s approach to situations and people (especially children) showcases either patience or impatience for kids to imitate. When promises are made, dad rewards patience by keeping our end of the bargain. As always, actions speak louder than words: impatiently snapping at children teaches one energy; patient, gentle, calm respect teaches another. Help children learn that delayed gratification can be one of the most rewarding parts of the journey—we are wise to enjoy the process of working towards something special. Life’s path is often long and winding; patience can help us stay the course.
“Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.”
—Proverbs 15:18 GNT
One day, an aardvark decides not to run, and Remy’s horn gets stuck in a tree! The forgiving aardvark gathers termites to slowly eat away the wood and free Remy―not only of his situation but of his impatient ways. This hilarious story shows children how to get unstuck from their impatience and enjoy peace and people around them.
Is it possible to actually enjoy WAITING? The Little SPOT of Patience will show you how! From waiting in line to waiting for glue to dry on your art project, you will see so many situations where you can actually learn how to make waiting FUN!
Waiting is a big part of childhood—waiting in line, waiting to grow up, waiting for something special to happen—but in this book, a child sets the stage and pulls the strings. Timeless, beautiful, and deeply heartfelt, Waiting is all about imaginative play, the seasons, friendship, and surprises.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.