By Laura Seymour
A very overlooked value today is patience, and we tell parents of young children to “hurry up and teach your kids to wait.” Charles Fay, the man behind “Love and Logic,” says, “There are few greater gifts we can give our children than the ability to delay gratification.”
The lesson is learned best when you are young instead of becoming adults who can’t wait to have things so we buy now and then pay 20 percent interest on credit cards. Here are the “easy” steps:
1. Model patience and delayed gratification; parents have to walk the talk.
2. Help your children get plenty of patience practice.
3. Reward good waiting — and remember, the most powerful reward is when someone they love gives them a big hug and says, “I noticed that you waited so patiently in the store.”
Now, what is the Jewish message? Well, we Jews are certainly known for our patience — look how long we have been waiting for the Messiah. In Hebrew, the word for patience is “savlanut.” It means patience, but also tolerance.
The root of the word is “sevel,” which means suffer, or “sivlot,” which are burdens. These are very interesting connections to this important concept. It is not easy to be patient, and often we do suffer and it feels like a tremendous burden. Patience is hard work.
The “Love and Logic Journal” ends the lesson on patience with this story:
“I recently witnessed an incredibly patient child getting on an airplane with her mother. This child was in her fifties. Her frail mother was in her eighties. This child patiently steadied her mother as she rose from her wheelchair and struggled to walk onto the plane. When they reached their row, this child patiently helped her mother into her seat, stowed her mother’s luggage, and made certain that her mother was comfortable.”
Let us remember that all things in life come full circle. Someday we will all move very slowly. At that time, we will be thankful for the patience we showed our children.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and director of Jewish life and learning at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.