|"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday." A.A. Milne|
Teaching patience to my little ones is a challenge in itself, especially when I am still learning it. The simple moments in our daily life offer an opportunity to learn, listen, and practice patience. With an infant and a toddler that crave my immediate attention, my time is spread thin. I need to speak with truth and clarity, keep it simple and communicate exactly what is happening and what will happen. Children interpret what you say literally, and figuratively. As explained by Sarah Napthalie, "listening can be a form of meditation requiring concentration, restraint and a degree of silence." If we want our children to listen, it starts with our ability as parents to practice the same openness and patience we expect from our children.
My older son experiences many situations where he can practice patience. Today, I couldn't get breakfast together in our usual way, as I was delayed. Hunger rage was in full effect. My effort to communicate begins with, "patience, grasshopper." We have been using this imagery for a while now as it was inspired from friends. It is fun to say and envisioning a fast, jumping, grasshopper being patient mimics a toddler being still and listening. On another level, patience teaches us the value of sitting with discomfort. All life is filled with suffering, this is one of the first Noble Truths of buddhist philosophy. As we sit and experience a thought or feeling that is uncomfortable, the value of impermanence is alive and well. Impermanence is knowing that everything must and will change into something else. Experiences vary in intensity and form, practicing patience assists that energy to pass. I want my children to grow into responsible, strong, loving, kind, and compassionate people. Teaching my children that they will have to experience discomfort of the mind, body or spirit is important in creating a favorable outcome. There is unknown joy and surprise in life, experiencing it fully allows us to explore, observe and notice every moment.