I have witnessed impatient parents scolding their tantrum-throwing children in more stores than I can count. The scenario usually goes something like this:
Child: “Can I have this?”
Parent: “No. Put that back.”
Child (louder): “But I want it!”
Parent: “I said no.”
Child (louder): “BUT I WANT IT!”
Parent (louder): “1…2…3…”
Parent tip: “I’ll put it on your list!”
I made lots of mistakes as a parent (and I still do), but one of the best parenting tools I ever had was a little notebook I kept in my purse.
If one of my daughters saw an item that she really, really wanted, I could listen and acknowledge her with a statement like, “Wow! Isn’t that pretty?” or “Oh, I like that, too!” Then I’d pull out the notebook and ask, “Do you want me to put it on your list?”
My children knew they were heard. They saw me actually write the exact description of the item they wanted in that little book, and then they were able to move on, knowing there was a chance that when their birthday or Christmas came, that desired item might be wrapped in a package just for them.
They knew with certainty that they would receive something from that list, but not everything. There was hope and expectation, but also surprise.
It’s important to give children chances to practice waiting patiently. Teach them to take turns.
Help them learn that they don’t get everything they want when they want it.
Family Ministry connection: Wait with hope
What are times you have to wait?
At a doctor’s office there is a waiting room where we wait until it’s our turn. We wait in line at the grocery store. We wait at a red light. We wait for dinner. We wait for the first day of school, or for the last day of school.
We have lots of chances to wait. But do we wait with patience? Do we wait with hope?
Waiting with hope is looking forward to something with a feeling of expectation or confidence.
When we pray, do we ask with the assurance that God has our prayers securely “written on our list” or do we grumble and think God has forgotten us?
What if we waited with the hope and expectation that God will answer our prayer with something wonderful, even if we don’t know what or how God will answer?
Prayer for patience.
“Lord, I know I’m not always patient. When I need to wait, please help me not to grumble. Amen.”