Patience truly is a virtue! Here are three easy ways to teach kids patience, which is a lifelong skill.
Are We There Yet? – A Lesson on Patience
Remember Donkey during his journey to the Kingdom of Far Far Away in the movie Shrek 2, where he repeatedly asked Shrek and Fiona, “Are we there yet?” We may have found that scene amusing, but Donkey’s impatience sure got on Shrek and Fiona’s nerves!
For all of us with kids, I’m sure we’ve been in Shrek and Fiona’s shoes more often than we’d like. So how do we teach our kids to be patient?
Play a Game to Teach Patience
Play a game of dominoes with your kids. Have them arrange the dominoes in a formation (either straight row or any creative pattern). After completing the formation, have fun watching the dominoes fall.
It is common to accidentally topple the dominoes while arranging the formation. Leave bigger gaps every now and then so that only small sections of the formation will topple (and not the entire formation) when this happens. Go back and carefully fill these gaps after you have completed the rest of the formation.
After the game, talk to your child about the game.
- Was it easy arranging the dominoes in the formation that you wanted?
- What were some difficulties that you encountered?
- How did you feel?
Explain that arranging the dominoes neatly is not easy and it takes time to do it well. When we are impatient and try to hurry, we can accidentally topple the dominoes. This can lead to frustration and we sometimes feel like giving up.
In the same way, in real life, we sometimes feel frustrated and want to give up. But God wants does not want us to give up doing good. God wants us to persevere.
Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Pray for Patience
Pray together with your child. Thank God for his love, patience and continual forgiveness. Confess to God those instances where you and your child have been impatient and ask for God’s forgiveness. Ask the Holy Spirit to produce patience in your lives.
Galatians 5:22-23a (NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Don’t forget that actions speak louder than words. Your child will notice those instances where you show impatience to the people around you, especially if he/she is the one bearing the brunt of it.
Don’t make excuses for yourself, but acknowledge your weakness to your child, humbly ask your child for forgiveness and pray together with your child for God’s forgiveness. If we model patience for our kids, there is a higher chance for our kids to learn to be patient!
Being patient is sometimes easy – like when we are doing things that we enjoy or dealing with people we like, or when we have something to look forward. But it can become challenging when we are doing something that is difficult or takes very long to do, or when we are dealing with difficult people or someone we don’t really like.
But God wants us to be patient with ourselves and with one another. If we walk closely with God and yield to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit produces good fruit in our lives, including patience!
Do you have any interesting ideas to teach patience? We’d love to hear from you!
Alvin Gan is the father of three noisy (but lovely) teenagers and founder of www.BibleGamesCentral.com. At Bible Games Central, you will find a variety of fun and captivating games complete with Bible learning points, recommended scripture passages and discussion questions.