NEVER pray for patience unless you are willing to learn no matter the cost. It is a valuable character trait. However, most humans I know are not patient. That is probably the reason that patience lessons are the hardest. I think God does not enjoy teaching us patience but, knows we need to learn. It is a struggle, something we must learn (and re-learn) daily.
As parents we need to learn patience and we need to teach patience. God patiently teaches us patience, although I know we are very trying at times (well, most of the time).
So how do you learn patience? How do you teach it to a child? Persistence and perseverance come to mind. When I was raising my daughters we had a rule in the house, if you started something new, you had to stick with it a year before you could quit. Gymnastics, swimming, horseback riding, flute, French Horn, cheer-leading, track, tennis, tap, clubs, band, voice … piano. You name it they took it or joined it somewhere along the way. I wanted them both to learn piano. I knew it would teach them eye-ear-hand coordination and self-discipline, not to mention the added advantage that music training increases ones spacial learning which results in stronger academic achievements. So I decided that piano they did for me. I would let them join, take lessons, etc. anything within reason as long as they studied piano. My oldest started at six and my youngest at four. I was persistent and they persevered. We all learned patience. The result was that they became well-rounded in many areas, successful academically and wonderful musicians. My oldest is beginning to teach her daughter, age 4, piano and my youngest graduated with a music degree and has her own web page promoting her voice and piano lessons. They learned self-discipline through their perseverance. As adults they can stay the course and complete multi-tasking goals.
Our spiritual life is to be the same. We are to be persistent in prayer, persevere the day-to-day trials and tribulations, allowing God to work patience in our life. Toddlers can be taught patience through persistent instruction and discipline through love. Just as we teach our young, God is always teaching us.
In Genesis 31:38-42 we read o f Jacob’s diligence and his patience. In Proverbs 21:5 the scriptures tell us that hard work pays off. In Mark 15:47 we are told that diligence allowed them to see Jesus.
Do not be passive parents. Parenting is a participation action not a spectator one. Get involved in the lives of your children at an early age helping them to set a goal they can achieve. Encourage them, praise their work, guide them and keep them on task and rejoice with them as they achieve. Every little goal accomplished teaches them. Those goals become more complex as they grow. When they are teens and young adults, they will be able to set achievable goals and accomplish much.
Allow your children to see you set goals and your persistence in accomplishing those goals. Make sure they observe your perseverance and see you grow in patience.
Then, when trials and tribulations come your way, your patience and spiritual growth will help you face life. Remember, life is 24/7/365 and we must have a spiritual focus on God our hope. Defeat is when our spiritual feet are mired in the mud of life and sin and our focus is on our circumstances instead of Christ.