Patience in a Have It Now World

Dr. Kristi Smith, Director of Education & Training   •   December 5, 2018

pa • tience   noun
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset
Synonyms: forbearance, tolerance, restraint, self-restraint, stoicism
When I was little, I remember my parents saving money to replace their broken 1950's mid-century modern, orange leather couch. I have a vivid memory of my father readjusting the tan wooden leg as he "talked to it" saying that he almost had enough saved so that he didn't have to mess with it anymore. After all, it was 1970—sleek modern furniture was out and Earth tones was in. In stark contrast, I have to admit that last year my patience was tested when Amazon informed me that a red leather chair I ordered would take 3 days instead of 2 as promised to Prime customers. Our fast-paced world with advanced technology allows people to bypass saving for extend periods of time and waiting patiently for weeks until delivery.  We truly can have things NOW.
In today's "have it now" and instant access world, how do we teach children to develop patience? Dr. Gail Gross, human behavior and family expert, says that modeling patience is one of the most effective way of teaching this virtuous character trait. The following are a couple of easy examples of ways that adults can model patience to children:
  • Have a family piggy bank in the kitchen with a picture of something that you are saving for.
  • Instead of eating in the car, wait to eat at home.
  • Choose to bypass a modern convenience such as microwaving a potato and cook it the "long" way in the oven - talk about how being patent paid off because the flavor is richer when cooked in the over.
Being patient is not a natural response for young children. They are in a developmental stage of ego-centrism. They are focused on themselves and getting their needs met. Pointing out moments to a child when they are being patient helps them to understand the concept while giving them positive reinforcement. Explaining the benefits of being patient will help in the process. You have to admit a potato cooked in the oven is much better than one from the microwave!
By paying attention, being an active listener, and making eye contact when talking with your child, you lower his frustration, and give him the message that you are with him and you are present for whatever it is he is doing. This teaches him that patience is really listening and being present in relationship.
Character Values Count
Childrens Lighthouse staff are dedicated to showing children affection to the children in our early learning schools. Affection has direct ties with our proprietary Lighthouse C.A.R.E.S.℠    curriculum through our units on cooperation, helping others, showing kindness, expressing gratitude, and recognizing and accepting differences.