“Patience can’t be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it.” ~ Eknath Easwaran
Patience is a character strength that helps us to slow down and practice mindfulness. It helps us work at our own natural pace. It allows us to respond to life’s challenges rather than react to them. Patience brings more love, calm, peace and acceptance into our life.
A simple and effective way to encourage patience is with your tone of voice and body language. It is said that communication is 93% nonverbal (35% Body language, 58% tone) and 7% words. So it is not only what is said but how it is said that models and encourages patience. “Take your time” can be said in many different ways. How many different ways you can say “Take your time”? Responding instead of reacting is a power way to model patience.
Patience with Yourself & Others
During the week reflect on the way in which you are conveying patience in your voice and body language with your family and your self-talk. Be gentle with yourself. When you are tired, hungry, run down, overwhelmed or low in energy you will respond differently, as do children. Allow yourself time to walk away, to accept differences, to see things in a new light, to see things from your child’s perspective, to enjoy the moment rather than rushing to be somewhere else.
Catch them in the act! Look for times when you notice or recognize patience being shown or intended. When your child chooses any form of patience use meaningful phrases to help them connect meaning to their actions.
- Thank you for being so calm and waiting for me after school, I’m sorry I was a few minutes late.
- Thank you for showing patience with your sister when she came and played with your new toy.
- Thank you for waiting so patiently and peacefully, I know you are really really hungry and I appreciate that you did not whinge or complain. Thank you for your patience in helping me to slow down and take my time, I feel nice and calm now.
- Thank you for your patience while I was speaking on the phone, that was a very important phone call to me and I could see you waited so calmly.
Time for Yourself = More Patience
Where in my day can I take time for me and fill my cup?
What do you value?
Which words do you choose to encourage patience?
How has being patient helped me to connect to my child?
How do I encourage my child to be patient?
What frustrates me the most?
When can I notice myself more reactive than responsive?
How do I feel after I take time for self-care?
When am I least patient?
It brings comfort to know that practicing patience isn’t just about learning to wait for things. Patience opens us up to experiencing more space in our day and creates inner calm. Our first opportunity to role model patience can come from within, taking time to care for our body, mind and spirit. The practice of self-care ripples into your parenting, showing your children that you value who you are. And yes, as we are often reminded at the most opportune times ‘patience is a virtue’ – a beautiful and wise one at that.
May patience lead you to that gentle place within.
Yours in Harmony,