The Value of Patience

Reflecting on the year ahead. What is it we would most like our children to emerge with at the end of 2017?

There is an interview (which you can view here) going around on social media with Simon Sinek talking about the Millennial generation. If you haven’t seen it, it is worth a watch. The two key concepts he highlights to overcome their self-esteem trap are connection and patience.

The first of these - connection - is the spine of all our work. It’s the gateway to strong relationships and therefore fulfilment. If you want to know more about how to bring this into your life and home join us at our upcoming Signature parenting course (details here), follow us on Facebook here or read our previous blog post on The Power of Connected Relationships

Let us focus on the key skill of patience and how we can coach our children to strengthen their patience muscle.

Seeds and Switches
We live in a society where switches are the norm;

  • one click and we have a book to read
  • one click and we can watch tv with no advert breaks
  • we want an answer and we expect it immediately.

Life is on-demand and immediate, for our children this is their norm; just push a switch and get what you want and need.


  • are nothing to do with instant gratification,
  • they are all about the long term
  • to watch or wait for them to grow is to experience patience.
  • They are about tiny potential, with the right mix of sunlight, soil and nourishment slowly making it’s way to the light before blossoming.

This isn’t only relevant for plants. The famous pre-school “marshmallow test” gave children a marshmallow and told them if they can wait until the teacher returns they will get two.

The children who were able to distract themselves, be patient, exercise self-control in the years to follow turned out to be calmer, more resilient and more successful in a number of areas.

I know it’s true in my extended family; I had two cousins and each Easter my eggs would be finished quickly; three days at a stretch. My cousins would often have easter eggs left almost a year later. These two have gone on to be world players in their fields of technology and animation and they’ve done it with a stunning circle of precious friends around them. This is my true life example of the marshmallow experiment.

Gym for the patience muscles

There are the obvious big ways to exercise discipline and patience; sport, art, dance, music.Learning to do something well, investing time, effort and attention (dedicated practice) over years not only builds a skill it builds the awareness of what it takes to do something well. It grows an understanding that there is a joy in the process and greater reward when we’ve invested ourselves in getting there.

Then there are the often ignored, small but powerful ways to grow patience. To learn to wait! To quote Pamela Druckerman author of French Children Don’t Throw Food; ‘small delays seem to make a big difference’ in teaching our children patience.


    • Seconds and minutes count; children waiting to speak to us until we finished speaking to others
    • Delaying grabbing food or the drink the moment it’s requested, baking and then waiting to meal time to eat it.
    • Daily life offers numerous opportunities in minor ways to build patience for when our children need it.

Most powerfully a daily lesson in patience rests in how we model patience for and with our children; they are watching and learning from our patience or lack thereof in every moment.

Which way are you going to make a priority to practice patience in your home?

  1.  Skills which take time to master

  2. Daily opportunities to wait

  3. Modelling our own management of patience



Here is to a 2017 of greater depth and value with patience and connection at our core.

For those wanting to attend our Signature Parenting course, we will be hosting two courses in Durban in 2017 and one begins 9 February - so sign-up soon. We also delighted to be launching our first public Signature Educator course in August, details below. If you wish to be the first to know when our on-line course launches this year be sure to sign-up here.

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