Teachers Have the Power to Teach Kids Patience

Teachers Have the Power to Teach Kids Patience

Patience. They say it’s a virtue. I suppose that’s true. But, it certainly doesn’t seem to come naturally.  

You would think with age and experience, patience would be easier to find. But that doesn’t always seem to be the case.  

Perhaps it’s because everything moves so fast. I don’t have to wait for the evening news to get the weather.  In two days, or even less, nearly any product in the world can be delivered to my door.  Thanks to InstaPot, I don’t even have to wait for soup to simmer.

So many of our wants and needs can be satisfied in an instant.  It’s easy to lose perspective.

But, some things do take time. Skill mastery takes time. Results aren’t instantly noticeable. Most businesses grow slowly. 

In the Future of Work, today’s students will need to regularly learn new skills. Career progression, for them, will be a zig and zag.  And, if 1/3 of today’s students do become freelancers, as predicted, well that’s a lot of solo businesses that will take time to grow.  

When today’s kids become tomorrow’s workers, they’re going to need a good deal of patience.

But, I’m worried they won’t recognize that. To them, patience will seem as outdated as landlines.  

We, the adults in their lives, know and understand the value of patience. We can all think back to how hard something seemed when it was new. How ready we were to call it quits. But, we also remember how one day, what once was hard, became simple.  

Once my kids stopped eating baby food, I realized I didn’t know how to cook. It was the Pioneer Woman’s blog that taught me. She shared pictures of nearly every stage of a recipe.  Anyone could follow along. You’d look at the skillet in her photograph, compare it to the skillet on your stove, and you would know whether you were, or weren’t, on the right track.  

Early on, just making a pizza from scratch took me hours and I made a huge mess. Now, it all seems routine. I tell my kids stories of that patience and learning every now and then. They don’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to make dinner. They don’t remember the kitchen looking like I’d cooked for an army, when all I did was make a pizza. I want them to know that what they’re eating today took many, many tries to get right.  It took a lot of patience and willingness to keep trying.  

But, here’s the thing that I’ve noticed about my kids. They rarely listen to me.  

You know who they do listen to? Teachers. Coaches.

Book recommendations and stretches for an aching back, these are things I first recommended, demonstrated, and explained.  To no avail.   

But, as soon as a teacher recommended Harry Potter, my girls started devouring the entire series.  As soon as a coach demonstrated a few yoga postures, my son was doing yoga. Something he refused to do with me.

So, as a parent of kids who will be navigating the Future of Work, I’m encouraging you, the teachers and coaches, to share your stories about patience.  

Share the story of your career, the false-starts, even the failures. Explain what you learned and what you overcame.  Share the story of learning a new skill and how long it took.  And, if you have a side hustle, tell that story and how long it took to grow.  

Let kids hear, through your stories, that anything worth doing takes time. Let them know that overnight successes are rare.

You may think they’re not listening to you. I’m here to tell you that they are. They not only hear what you say. They think about what you say. They even do what you say.

You have the power to teach kids the importance of patience in today’s rapidly changing world. 

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