Learning to be Patient

I’ve never been what you would call a patient person. I frustrate easily. I don’t like to play new games because it takes me a while to catch on to their rules or strategies. When given the option to open a gift now or later I almost always choose now, and then wish I waited for later.

Patience wasn’t really my virtue until I had my son; I had to learn to be patient for him. Watching him learn how to do things I took - and still take - for granted was fascinating.

It took a lot of energy not to help him with everything. Children, toddlers, and babies want to do it themselves--we all do, really. He wanted to get the monkey pacifier into his mouth on his own. To feed himself carrots. To stand up and walk, though he fell over and over again, he’d pick himself up and try again every time.

If I plopped onto my bottom as much as my son did while learning to walk? Well, I’d probably just give up. The same goes for missing my mouth with my fork as much as a toddler can in one meal, or not being able to reach something just out of reach, which happens more often than you might think.

In watching and participating in these activities, I’ve noticed just how much patience he has for what he is doing - how much grace he has for himself. Food fell off his fork? Let’s take another bite! Tripped while running down the hall? Oh, well, let’s just keep going!

It’s inspiring, and made me realize as he’s grown just how little patience I have for myself. If I mess up, I’m the first to cry “failure.” I’m likely to throw in the towel if I don’t learn a new skill on the first try. Like when I tried hand-lettering and was awful, or when I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried, figure out The Electric Slide. I look back and grimace at my impatience.

This realization has changed how I see what I do. Instead of giving up, I get up and try again. I don’t get frustrated when I can’t figure out a new skill the first time - I just work harder at it the second time. And third - as many times as it takes. I allow myself time to learn and grow, just like I do for my son. His patience and persistence has been eye-opening to me, as I grow alongside him as a parent and person.

ow, I show myself patience in ways I never thought I would. I’m trying hand-lettering again, and while I probably will always be baffled by The Electric Slide, I’m going to try to figure it out. Even while I am teaching my son and leading him on this path we call life, I’m following his lead. I’m showing myself patience.