Peter has been sitting for an hour with his daughter Louisa, age 12, working on a math assignment. He hates how quickly Louisa gives up. “Be patient,” he keeps saying. Or, “Look over it again. You just overlooked something very simple. I know you know how to do this. “ But Louisa’s frustration is just growing and Peter’s along with it. He is starting to hear an edge in his voice and Louisa’s guesses are becoming more and more random.
What is patience?
Patience is allowing time to run its course and allowing people, including ourselves, to work and grow at our own pace. Patience moves our minds away from frustrations, expectations or “shoulds” and aligns us with reality. When we are patient, our energy is available to make good things happen.
Patience must be cultivated, and yet the marvelous world around and within us offers infinite and beautiful reminders that small slow changes create change beyond imagining.
Five Quotes to contemplate, discuss and share.
(To print a quote as a small poster, click on the quote, which will take you to the Wisdom Commons, then click the print button after the quote.)
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
–Robert Louis Stevenson
Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
—A. A. Milne
Bringing it home to your kids
- One of the keys to patience and the ability to delay gratification is distraction, learning to focus on something else while you wait. When your child is frustrated by a delay, coach him or her to think about something else: a good memory, an upcoming adventure; or possibly some interesting tidbits of information.
- Mindfulness is fantastic for increasing patience. Try tuning into background noise or smells. Touch an interesting object. Savor a cold drink.
- Watch for the warning signs that you and your child are hitting your limits. We all have them. Long before you want to scream, switch tasks, switch subjects, take a little break, or indulge in a treat. If you and your child have a task that frequently ends up being frustrating, try coming up with some of these ideas ahead of time. Keep them your secret or let your child know what you’re up to.
- Before starting a task that requires patience, plan breaks with your child. Ask him or her what how he/she can tell it’s time for a pause. Make a light hearted game of noticing when the time is getting close. Laughing together is a powerful antidote to frustration.
- Find a patience mantra or two that works for you in your times of frustration – a comforting reminder that change comes slowly, but it does come.
Photo by: Sarah Ross Photography