We all agree. Waiting is the worst. We’re impatient by nature. If there are more than twelve people in line at Starbucks, we leave; if we get stuck behind a slow car, we flash our lights; if we’re put on hold on the telephone, we hang up; if the express checkout at the grocery store is closed, we complain; if our flight is delayed, we hyperventilate. Yup. We all hate waiting.
But, waiting is a part of life and a skill that God values. Think of all the people in the Bible that had to wait for God to fulfill a promise; Joseph, Sarah and Abraham, David, and Hannah just to name a few. Apparently, God desires that we learn to wait for His timing in our lives. And, if God wants this for us, He wants us to pass this skill on to our kids.
Our kids are living in an “instant gratification” culture. Microwaves, cells phones, i-pads, all enhance our lives and allow us to perform more quickly. We are a people on the go and we want to go fast! Here’s the thing, there are things in life that God calls your child to wait for. For example, God calls us to wait for sexual intimacy until we’re married. God calls us to for His timing in doing what He’s promised. He says, “I choose the appointed time” (Psalm 75:2). Which means you, as their parent will have to help them develop the skill of waiting because it won’t come naturally.
As I’ve been thinking about this I’ve come up with just a few simple suggestions to encourage waiting.
Tell them stories of times when you’ve had to wait. Help them understand how valuable this was for you as a parent.
Teach them not to interrupt but to wait until you’re off the phone. Now granted, there are emergencies and exceptions. This is a general guideline, not a hard and fast rule. And only you know how much you’re on the phone. If you’re spending hours on the phone, you need to focus on your child. But generally speaking prepare your kids when you have a phone call and let them know that they will have to wait until you’re done to ask you a question unless there’s an emergency
Teach them to wait to wear the new things you buy until the appropriate occasion. In other words, if you buy a special out fit for the first day of school, have them wait until the first day of school to wear it. If you buy them special clothes for a holiday, have them wait to wear them until that holiday.
Teach them to wait to buy things until they’ve saved the money to buy something they want. Instead of purchasing whatever they want whenever they want it – teach them the value of waiting and saving. This is a skill they need for their adult life, so begin training them when they’re young.
Teach them to wait to drive with friends until they’ve had their driving license long enough to prove they’re a careful driver.
There are no hard and fast rules to teaching your kids to wait. It might look differently in each family. Just be aware that there are things in life that God is going to call them to wait for and your job as a parent is to lovingly teach them and model waiting for them. Please note! This principle does not in my mind apply to infants and feeding. Infants need to have their needs met so that they develop a strong trust base.
In what ways has God shaped your life by asking you to wait? How might He use waiting in your child’s life to develop character that is pleasing to Him? Leave a comment- I’d love to hear from you.