Practicing Patience

Practicing Patience

Help your kids understand the importance of patience through these age-appropriate activities.
“Dad,” my daughter groaned, “Mom picked me up late again.”

“Really?” I replied. “Aren’t you fortunate!”

“Huh?”

“Kelsey, the day is coming when you’re going to get married. And the man you marry is going to inconvenience you, frustrate you, perplex you and even anger you. You know why?”

“Yes, James 3:2 — ‘We all stumble in many ways.’ I’ve heard you say it millions of times.”

“Right. How providential, then, that God has given you two very imperfect parents who sometimes unintentionally teach you the necessity of patience!”

As my kids matured, I often stressed that the relational skills they developed as brother and sister, son and daughter, would come in handy when they became a husband or wife, father or mother.

Chief among these skills is patience. Patience is revealed in the long-suffering, slow-to-anger attitude God displays toward us. Consider this stunning example from Nehemiah 9:17-18: “You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them [the Israelites], even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god.’ ”

From this we learn that patience is a gentle, forgiving attitude toward someone — even in the face of blatant disobedience. (It doesn’t get much worse than making a false god.)

Family life grows miserable without patience because, as Scripture says, “We all stumble in many ways.” Since we all struggle with sin, our relationships need patience in the same way an engine needs oil — without it, the friction will cause an explosion.

Do our kids see us reacting to our spouses’ foibles by belittling them or gossiping about them on the phone, or are they seeing us respond with patience? Just as important, do they see us respond to their failures with the same attitude in which God treats us?

Responding with patience isn’t easy. At times it will go against everything we’re feeling, but patience is worth the effort it takes to cultivate. It strengthens relationships, feeds our joy and ushers peace into our homes.

The following activities and discussion questions can help you talk about these ideas with your kids. Let’s teach, and live, patience.

—Gary Thomas

Key Points
Patience is a gentle, long-suffering attitude toward others.
Patience brings peace and joy to our relationships.
Family life gives us many opportunities to grow in patience.
Family Memory Verse
Proverbs 15:18
“A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.”

Scripture Study
For a more in-depth look at patience, read these Bible passages:

Proverbs 19:11
Ephesians 4:2
Colossians 3:12
1 Thessalonians 5:14
1 Timothy 1:15-16

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