I watched from the other side of the room as my son worked on a project at the table. He’d been there for 30 minutes and hadn’t made much progress. The instructions lay out in front of him, surrounded by his tools and supplies. His head was in his hands and I could see by his deep breaths that he was having a hard time. A few moments later, his frustration came out loud and clear as the instructions were balled up, the tools and supplies thrown to the floor, and he stormed to his room.
“I just can’t do it!”
He felt defeated. He was so excited to complete his project, but along the way he lost his patience and gave up. My mama heart struggled in that moment. Both my boys had been struggling so much lately, and I so desperately wanted to make it all better for them. For a minute I thought about putting the project together for him; but in the end, I decided not to rob him of an important lesson.
When it comes to patience, we often teach our children that it’s about waiting. That is true, but there’s more to it. There’s more to patience than learning to wait. We have to learn to allow God to work on our hearts while we wait. It’s the work that’s done while we are waiting that’s really important.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
Take some time to explain to your son that God will often use hard times to help us grow in character and faith. We should be thankful when these moments arrive because, with God’s help, we can become more like Jesus. This is not easy, of course—we must help our children learn how to respond in a God-honoring way when those trials come.
There are 3 things that I have found really help my boys as they work to become more patient:
Prayer and Praise
Anytime I see my children struggling with something, I start praying for them. I grab my Bible and find Scriptures to help me pray strategically and specifically for their hearts. I pray daily that God will give my boys the strength to be patient, to wait with joyful hearts, and to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit. I also pray with my boys and teach them to pray for themselves.
I take time to praise my children in their efforts. We sit down and talk about how they are doing. I look at the things that went well (and thank God for the progress) and the things that they made need to continue to work on.
Godly Role Models
I like to look to Scripture for examples of godly character. Study the lives of different men and women in the Bible that demonstrated patience and impatience. Moses, Daniel, Jesus, and Job are great places to start. Talk about the struggles these people faced and how they were able to overcome with God’s help. Help your son make the connection between those struggles and the struggles that he faces.
Be a role model yourself. This is a great opportunity for Dad to step in and mentor/disciple your son. If Dad is not available, look to the church and your family to come alongside your son. Allow him to watch how they handle difficult situations. Allow these men to speak life into his heart and help him be accountable. Biographies are also a great way to talk about patience with your son.
Share the Blessings of Patience
I have found that my boys really want to understand the “why” behind things. Helping them understand the importance of growing in character is a great way to motivate and encourage them. Turn to Scripture and show them the biblical reasons to work on being patience. Help them see the work that God wants to do in their hearts. Help them see how learning to be a patient young man will be a blessing to their families and jobs when they are older.
Moms, raising boys requires a lot of patience on our parts. Arm yourself with the Word and let’s walk beside our boys as they allow God to do a mighty work in their hearts. It will take time, but it’s always worth the wait.