Wait for discipline to work
Perhaps this is the toughest area of all in which to exercise patience. We use every tool at our disposal—graduating from the ruler to the rod to the slipper to the belt to the whip to the scourge to the nail remover to the rack to banning Facebook (OK, the last one’s a joke), and still no change for weeks, months or even years.
Then one day we realize, “Hey, we haven’t had to deal with that problem for ages.” Like all fruit, the fruit of discipline can be a long time growing. Sometimes it’s because although the child realizes they’re in the wrong, they are so proud that they won’t admit to it or immediately change their ways. Rather they want to do it at their own (slower) pace. Other times it’s because they genuinely need to work through it in their minds so that it becomes a conviction rather than just a convention. Remember, overnight fruit is rarely good fruit.
Wait for lessons to be learned
We can warn and warn and warn about driving too fast, using the phone while driving, etc., and our words just evaporate as they touch their ears. Their first accident with resulting repair bills, insurance deductible, personal injury, points on the license, increased premiums, etc., usually teach more than any of our words. Physical, financial, legal and social pain are often the most effective teachers
Wait for purpose to clarify
We all want to see our kids have a purpose in life, to have a sense of direction, to choose a course of study or work that is meaningful and rewarding. Instead, they can meander from job to job, from course to course, from ambition to ambition, from identity to identity, sometimes for quite a few years.
We watch with increasing anxiety and frustration, we pressure and push them to get a move on, to get a grip, to dedicate themselves to something—anything.
All seems lost, when, wonder of wonders, they find their groove, their niche, their true identity and purpose in life. They have a new energy, a new enthusiasm, a new focus and a new drive. Everything falls into place.
Wait for the soul to be saved
If there’s one thing we want for our kids above all, it’s that they know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior from their earliest years. Yet, although we can do so much for them as parents, we cannot force this, we cannot make this happen. If it’s hard waiting for their purpose to clarify, for lessons to be learned, etc., it’s hardest of all waiting for them to be converted—partly because it’s our number one priority, partly because the stakes are so high, partly because without this we feel all our parenting will have been in vain.
Patient waiting doesn’t excuse us from teaching, correction, discipline, exhortation, etc., but it does save us from exasperation, exhaustion and expiration.