Growing Patience

I’m so excited that today my friend, Dr. Tim Elmore, is guest blogging here. Tim is the founder and president of Growing Leaders and is the author of several books including his most recent, Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future. Today he’s writing about how we can more effectively grow patience in our kids at Christmas. While I really don’t need the following information some of you MAY have kids that lack the virtue of patience.

Patience is a virtue. At least, that’s what they say. I say it’s a rare gem. Few of us have much of it in our day and culture. And our kids? They’re growing up with a “Google Reflex” expecting everything to come instantly — answers to questions, food, text replies, favorite songs… you name it.

This immediate gratification thing is even worse during the holidays. It’s just hard to wait. For all of us. Christmas, however, is supposed to be a time of waiting and anticipation — just like it was in Bethlehem. (Remember, Christ was born after four hundred years of God’s silence.)

Try this.

Sit down with your children and talk over this idea of “waiting.” Discuss how hard it is for everyone. Even adults. Talk about how people through history had to wait long periods for almost anything valuable. Then, talk about how impatient people are today. (Remember Target shoppers getting trampled on Black Friday at 4:00 am?) Finally, have a conversation about how your family could build a little patience in each member during the holiday season.

For instance, for the remaining days in December, leading up to Christmas, you could offer a dollar-a-day for each of your children who can last the longest without complaining or becoming impatient about how long Christmas is taking. (Remind the young ones — 18 days means $18 dollars!) The ability to delay gratification is a sure sign of maturity in kids.

I have a friend whose twelve-year-old son, Nick, wanted a popular video game. It was sure to sell out on the first weekend it was released. Nick begged him to let him get it — although he didn’t have enough money. My friend did a wise thing. He said, “Son, I will pay for this video game so we can get it today. However, I will hold on to it until you can pay for it with your own money. This way, you know for sure you won’t miss out on it, but you’ll learn to appreciate it by waiting until you can really afford it. It was one of the greatest lessons Nick learned that year. He told me so.

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient until it gets the early and late rains. You, too, be patient; strengthen your hearts…” (James 5:7-8)

What are some things you’ve done to help grow patience in your children? Do you see this as an important virtue?

Join us tomorrow at Catalyst’s blog as we discuss ways to develop gratitude in your kids (and maybe yourself!) during the holidays.

Tim Elmore


You can follow Tim Elmore’s personal blog HERE, and learn more about developing the next generation in his latest book: Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future.