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Teaching Your Children - Patience

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

“Be patient,” I hear myself say as I’m rushing to get breakfast cooked, all while my toddler is asking to be picked up for the sixteenth time in five minutes. It’s Sunday morning, we’re already running behind in getting out the door for church. I’m feeling stressed and in need of a “Mary Poppins” to come in and make my children magically appear at the door dressed and fed, and to also lint roll my butt that is completely covered in cat hair. But there’s no Mary in sight, so onward we push, and by the time I get in the car, I’m out of breath, out of time, and feeling completely convicted of my attitude and lack of patience as I barked commands and pushed my kids right out the door.

Who’s the one who needs the patience?

Patience is so hard as a mother, isn’t it? There is always so much that needs done that it feels like we rarely have the time for added delays in our day. So we say things like, “Not now. We’ll do that later.” or “Five more minutes.” The definition of patience is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

Did you cringe a little when you read that definition? Yeah. Me too.  Because honestly, I don’t feel like I have the capacity for any of that.

The hour delay of my daughter finishing her lunch, tiny bite by tiny bite, leaves me feeling irritated. The interruption of my nap-time writing hour with a toddler refusing to go to sleep turns my attitude sour for the rest of the day. I wish I could say I am able to handle anything that comes my way with patience and understanding, but that just isn’t the truth. I get frustrated, snappy, and demanding. I’m not capable of living in patience on my own.

Enter Jesus.

The amazing thing about all of these fruits we’re covering in this series, is that they are guaranteed promises that we receive when we are living by the spirit. So we don’t have to be a naturally patient person, or thrive on interruptions, delays, and troubles. We just have to be open to letting the Spirit dwell in us and begin to change our heart.

Colossians 1:11 says, “Being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.”

For this lesson I used cookies, because who doesn’t love a lesson involving sugar?! I put out a plate of cookies on the table and told my girls that they could have the cookies in 5 minutes, after they helped me clean up the living room. After the five minutes were up, I told them that there was a change of plans, and that it would be another 5 minutes before they could have the cookies because I realized we also needed to clean off the table. After we were done, I came with another 5 minute delay, throwing them into a whining, frenzied chorus of, “BUT YOU SAID 5 MINUTES!” It was actually quite comical, and I couldn’t hold back the laughter at this point. So I finally gave in and let them in on the joke, and we sat and ate cookies while we talked about what it felt like to have those interruptions and delays. I talked with them about the characteristics of patience and how we need Jesus to be able to help us to walk it out. We talked about how we can pray when we’re feeling irritated by delayed play time, a change in weekend plans, or interruptions in a game of Barbies by their toddler sister.

For this fruit we memorized James 1:19 - “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

Download the adorable printable for this week’s memory verse here, as well as the full Fruits of the Spirit Family Guide, complete with discussion cards for dinner conversation.

PS…If you’re feeling like you can’t teach your children about the fruits because YOU don’t exactly display these yet, don’t. The most powerful way we can teach our children is by being an example of vulnerability, repentance, and a heart for our Savior. Make it your family mission to learn together!

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