The holidays are special time of the year. There is so much to be enjoyed and shared together as a family. Today, I am happy to have Leon Scott Baxter, the author of the newly released parenting book, Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting, share with us how the holidays teach children patience. With all the immediate gratification surrounding us, it is wonderful to witness this lesson in patience and appreciate it.
How The Holidays Teach Children Patience
These Days Patience Isn’t Something Most Kids Have To Learn
I have two daughters, 12 and 16. I watch how they live and think about how much things have changed since I was their ages. If I missed a show on one of the twelve channels we had at my home, I’d have to wait six months to catch a rerun (fingers crossed).
If my girls miss a program on one of the 400 channels we have at our home, they can pull out their smart phones virtually anywhere on the planet and watch the show on demand.
Speaking of phones, if I wanted to talk to someone on the telephone in my day, I actually had to wait to get home and hope that when I called they too were at their home. And, if they were, I was imprisoned to whatever room my phone was leashed to until the conversation was over.
Today, my girls can talk, text and FaceTime anyone else who has a device. It doesn’t matter if they are home or not, and they’re not tethered to a cord sticking out of a wall.
When I was a kid, if I wanted to know something or needed to do research for school, I had to travel to this building called a library, which housed thousands of books. And, in order to locate the book with the information I craved, I was forced to sift through drawers filled with thousands of cards, then traipse along the rows of books until I found that what I was looking for was already checked out by some other schmuck.
Today, that library is in my daughters’ pocket, but it’s now called Google. Any information they want is now at the tips of their fingers. And, if they don’t want to read it, Siri will read it to them, or they can just look at pictures of it, or watch videos about it.
Immediate Gratification Is Not Always Good
Everything that we had to work and wait for is now available to my girls immediately. They are growing up in a world of immediate gratification. I know I must sound like somebody’s grandpa, but I’m not blaming them. It’s not their fault. It may not even be all that bad; it’s just what the world has become. It’s all they’ve ever known, but I feel that patience is still a virtue, yet there aren’t many opportunities for kids to practice it today.
Then along come The Holidays. The Holidays are wonderful for many reasons. There are the religious significances, the gifts, the music, the food, giving, appreciation of family, but most of us forget… they teach children patience.
I teach third grade, and the minute my students return from Thanksgiving break, there’s a palpable electricity in the air until we leave again for winter break. The kids are so excite, and The Holidays are on their minds and in their conversations. Why do The Holidays create such an impact on the kids? Because they aren’t instantly accessible.
Holidays Require Patience
You can’t Google “Hanukkah” and suddenly find yourself lighting the Menorah. You can’t FaceTime Santa to ask him to drop off your presents a few weeks early. The Holidays are an exercise in patience, and our kids are certainly out of shape. They need this practice because everything else is available at their will.
Funny thing is, kids aren’t upset about having to wait. They accept the need for patience when it comes to The Holidays. It creates anticipation. For most, this is their favorite time of the year. On a certain level, our kids really want to wait…okay, maybe not all of them, especially those who sneak into our closets looking for the gifts we’ve hidden from them. But even then, they know they’ll have to wait to receive them.
Our children need to practice patience in our world of immediate gratification, and The Holidays offer that practice. Maybe we should create a few more days of celebration just to give them more opportunities to wait and teach children patience! So there you have it- one more reason to savor the holidays!
How do you teach children patience? What do find your children and yourself anticipating the most?