Parenting with Patience in an Instant Gratification World
October 10, 2023 | Jen Kenerly
3-4 minute read time
Do you take your kids grocery shopping? When my kids were small, I avoided it. Instead, I arranged for a friend to watch my kids, dropped them off for a playdate, drove to the store, shopped for groceries, waited in line, loaded and emptied the car, and picked up the kids. Grocery shopping was a lot of effort and a half-day event. Today, in our instant gratification society we can get groceries on our doorstep in two hours. We charge our phones at lightning speed and live our lives at a lightning pace.
Our world often strives to create narratives where patience is avoided. Yet James 1:4 reminds us to “Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” The Greek word used for perfect means “to mature.” It is the idea of being fully developed. It is the act of endurance that produces maturity. James 5:7-8 mirrors this idea of patience being matured. “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near.”
Living life at lightning speed isn’t usually conducive to parenting with intentionality or modeling the nature of God for your kids who watch you 24/7. Through this lens, I ask, “What kind of relationship do you want with your adult children?” and, “What do you want your family dynamics to look like in five or ten years?”
Parenting happens in the little, everyday moments. If we choose to parent with patience now, we are parenting today so that we can enjoy healthy relationships with our kids tomorrow. This means when your kids are ready to open up and talk, you need to be fully present. Put your phone down and engage...even if it’s 11pm on a weeknight. Sometimes, it means addressing behaviors in the moment even when it doesn’t feel convenient. If you want honor and respect to be important qualities in your home, but choose to excuse and tolerate disobedience at inconvenient times, you most likely won’t reap the reward of honor and respect in your home. It can also mean responding calmly instead of losing your marbles – and by doing so, you rightly exemplify God’s nature for your kids to imitate. Parenting with patience requires that we do the hard work of parenting, now. It requires us to be actively intentional.
Here are a few realistic ways you can live this out:
- Choose Where You’re Going With the end in mind, what qualities are important for the health of your family’s future? Name four to five, be consistent, and let them drive you in the hard moments. (Rather than react, keep these qualities in mind and choose to be intentional instead.)
- Choose to Say No Take stock of your pace. Parent Cue recently posted, “When we realize how important rest is to our families, we also realize how crucial it is to develop a habit of saying, ‘No.’” You don’t have to say yes to every party and invitation. You can show your family they are a priority by slowing down the pace.
- Choose to Lead Them in Their Faith We have a strategy to partner with parents to see the next generation of kids know Jesus as Lord and develop godly character. A new resource makes it easier than ever before for parents to lead well! Follow us on YouTube and turn on notifications. Each week parents will get a digital lesson recap and an idea to engage kids in a heart-to-heart conversation.
We desire to help you be more intentional with the time you have. Parenting with patience is a choice that requires us to slow down consistently and actively leverage the little moments. All these little, intentional moments add up over time to something quite significant. A time of reaping the harvest will come. It won’t, however, come instantly. Know where you’re going. Parent for the long game. We promise the harvest is worth the wait!