Patience from the teacher’s standpoint creates an environment of compassion and respect. When you’re patient with children, it’s just as though you are saying, “I respect how you feel children because I respect you. I want you to be happy and independent because I love you and want the best for you. I want to help you find your own happiness, so I’m going to slow down and take time to calmly assist you. Sometimes I do this by doing things for you, such as tying your shoes when you can’t do it. Sometimes I do this by teaching you to help yourself, such as helping you take deep breaths to calm yourself down or standing back and waiting for you to learn things at your own pace, in your own way, without my intervening. Sometimes I do this by giving you my attention and sharing in your joy.”
When you remind yourself that at the end of the day, all of the important things will still be accomplished (showing love being the most important thing of all), then you can stop rushing, complaining and start enjoying the ride during the ups and downs of life with the children you teach.
But What Happens When We Lose Our Patience?
Your children will test you and push you to your limits of patience. They don’t mean to do it. Some of those patience killers are just a part of normal, healthy development. Children just don’t realize how their behaviors impact others. When you are in a rush, they will dawdle. When you want to focus on a project, they will interrupt you. When you simply want a moment of quiet, they will shriek, make annoying sounds and fight, often for no reason, it seems, other than to disrupt the peace. When you easily see the solution to a problem, they will argue with you throwing tantrums at times because they cannot see the solution at all. *Sometimes, it is the child who lacks patience, and that alone can cause you to lose yours.
There will be days when you want to demand compliance. “You will listen to me.” “Move faster.” “Stop fighting, and leave each other alone.” It is effective for the short term, but it loses its effectiveness over time because it conveys a message to your children that says “I don’t respect you.”
How Do You Find Patience?
When you’re ready to accept that you don’t always need to be in charge or on schedule that a few extra moments in your day tending to the emotional needs of the children will actually make things run more smoothly in the end, then you’re ready to develop your patience.
Make a point to be patient. You may even set a day or time to start. Decide to pay more attention to the children by focusing on them rather than handling their issues while focusing on something else. Decide to handle things calmly. Even do your best to speak with a delightful voice and work on this till you have a better technique.
If you catch yourself losing patience (or even if somebody else points it out to you), simply stop, close your eyes, take a deep breath or two (count if you have to), and remind yourself that you are going to try to be more patient because it will make things easier in the long run. Then calmly address the problem. Don’t let yourself feel guilty for not having patience 100% of the time. (Nobody is that perfect.) Just be proud of yourself for catching yourself and reminding yourself to be more patient.
*Patience can be developed over time — it’s a habit, and like any other habits, it just takes some focus.
Next week looking at the skills of patience.