3 Ways to Teach Your Children About Patience

This post was originally published on The MOB Society on October 9, 2015. It is written by LaToya Edwards.

I watched from the other side of the room as my son worked on a project at the table.  He’d been there for 30 minutes and hadn’t made much progress. The instructions lay out in front of him, surrounded by his tools and supplies.  His head was in his hands and I could see by his deep breaths that he was having a hard time.  A few moments later, his frustration came out loud and clear as the instructions were balled up, the tools and supplies thrown to the floor, and he stormed to his room.

“I just can’t do it!”

He felt defeated.  He was so excited to complete his project, but along the way he lost his patience and gave up. My mama heart struggled in that moment.  Both my boys had been struggling so much lately, and I so desperately wanted to make it all better for them.  For a minute I thought about putting the project together for him; but in the end, I decided not to rob him of an important lesson.

When it comes to patience, we often teach our children that it’s about waiting. That is true, but there’s more to it. There’s more to patience than learning to wait. We have to learn to allow God to work on our hearts while we wait.  It’s the work that’s done while we are waiting that’s really important.

Get your copy of Everyday Prayers for Patience now, and go deeper in prayer for yourself and your family!

Take some time to explain to your child that God will often use hard times to help us grow in character and faith. We should be thankful when these moments arrive because, with God’s help, we can become more like Jesus. This is not easy, of course—we must help our children learn how to respond in a God-honoring way when those trials come.

There are 3 things I have found really help my children as they work to become more patient:

Prayer and Praise

Anytime I see my children struggling with something, I start praying for them. I grab my Bible and find Scriptures to help me pray strategically and specifically for their hearts. I pray daily that God will give my boys the strength to be patient, to wait with joyful hearts, and to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit. I also pray with my boys and teach them to pray for themselves.

I take time to praise my children in their efforts.  We sit down and talk about how they are doing. I look at the things that went well (and thank God for the progress) and the things that they made need to continue to work on.

Godly Role Models

I like to look to scripture for examples of godly character. Study the lives of different men and women in the Bible that demonstrated patience and impatience. Moses, Daniel, Mary, Jesus, Esther and Job are great places to start. Talk about the struggles these people faced and how they were able to overcome with God’s help. Help your child make the connection between those struggles and the struggles they currently face.

Be a role model yourself. If one parent is not available, look to the church and your family to come alongside your children. Allow them to watch how they handle difficult situations. Allow these other believers to speak life into their hearts and help them be accountable. Biographies are also a great way to talk about patience with your children. Look for books on famous missionaries, or people who loved God extravagantly with their lives.

Share the Blessings of Patience

I have found that my children really want to understand the “why” behind things. Helping them understand the importance of growing in character is a great way to motivate and encourage them. Turn to Scripture and show them the biblical reasons to work on being patient. Help them see the work that God wants to do in their hearts.  Help them see how learning to be a patient young man will be a blessing to their families and jobs when they are older.

Raising our children requires a lot of patience on our parts. Arm yourself with the Word and let’s walk beside them as they allow God to do a mighty work in their hearts. It will take time, but it’s always worth the wait.

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LaToya is a recovering perfectionist and control freak that loves old movies, good books and strawberry Häagen-Dazs® ice cream. She traded in a law degree to homeschool her children and be home full-time to serve her family. Through trials of divorce, depression, death and more she has learned how to find joy in motherhood and broken circumstances. As a certified life coach it is LaToya’s desire to encourage and equip other women to do the same. Learn more about LaToya at Women Finding God.

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