Looking back, it seems like half of my childhood was spent waiting. Waiting for the bus, waiting in the lunch-line, waiting for my favorite TV show, waiting for Mom to pick me up. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but waiting was just part of life. While waiting, my friends and I would learn handclap games, or we would climb trees, or just sit and day dream and letting our imaginations wander freely. Fast forward to today, and the scene is much different. If my five-year-old has to wait two minutes, he needs a device. There is no waiting for TV shows, because “Duh…Netflix…Hulu…Apple TV.” If your car, (like ours,) doesn’t have a built-in video screen, you better remember to bring all of the devices along, because—thirty minutes in the car might just kill a kid.
So here we have it: Modern day life for our kids.
And here I am, writing about the fruit of the Spirit called Patience. Good luck on that one, right?
We read in Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…”
It doesn’t say “The fruit of our culture,” or “The fruit of our lifestyle,” or even “The fruit of our hard work.” No matter our generation, or cultural influences, the fruit of “patience,” just like all of the others, is not ours to contrive. We cannot muster up the fruit of patience, any more than we can muster up joy, peace, or self control.
The fruits, by nature, are Spiritually produced.
True patience, the kind we read about in the Bible, is a direct result of being in fellowship with God. His Spirit, dwelling within, produces the fruits of the Spirit.
So though modern culture—complete with instant gratification in every facet of life—may not make it easier to teach our kids patience, we need not be discouraged. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Here are just a few ways to help our kids understand and grow in this Fruit of Patience.
- Teach them the Fruits of the Spirit. Use Scripture to teach them about the Fruits of the Spirit, and that all of the Fruits come from our relationship with God.
- Pray for fruit. Pray for your kids, and with your kids.
- Model the fruits. Let your kids know that even you (Super Mom that you are) depend on God for all of the fruits of the Spirit. Let them see you reading your Bible, worshipping, and asking God to fill you with His Spiritual Fruits.
- Give them a chance to practice the fruits. A little patience practice won’t hurt a kid. Make sure they know that the world does not revolve around them, and that waiting is sometimes...often…part of life. Prepare them for times where you know they’ll have to wait, and then occasionally leave the device at home! They may be surprised at how much fun they might have.
Teaching our children to be patient in our modern world is a challenge, to say the least. But teaching our kids to depend on God is timeless.
The Fruit of Patience will be the product of kids spending time in the Presence of the Lord.
A Prayer for BoyRaisers
Dear Lord: I know that you put me in this world for a time such as this. Though it seems that everything is based on instant gratification these days, help me to raise children who display the Fruit of the Spirit, including Patience. Help me to walk closely with you, and therefore to model Spirit-inspired patience. Help me to parent my child to stay connected to the Vine and therefore to bear fruits that last.