Ask your kids to complete a job that is too hard for them. (Give them a hard puzzle to complete. Ask them to stack ten blocks without them falling down. Give them a hard math problem to complete. The activity will depend on the age and skill of each child.)
As they are doing it (and continually failing), ask:
What are you feeling? (Discouraged; mad; unhappy; want to quit; etc.)
We can easily feel discouraged and want to quit when things are hard. We can’t see how we can ever do what we need to do.
Would you like me to help you? (Work together on the puzzle. Take turns stacking the blocks. Show them how to do long division.)
We were able to do a hard job because we worked together. Just as I helped you, God wants to help us with any problems. We can be faithful knowing that God wants to and will help us.
But I Want It NOW!
Make a bowl of popcorn the old-fashioned way. (If you don’t have kernels to pop, microwave popcorn will also work as even waiting a couple of minutes is a long time for a kid!) Stand by the microwave or stove waiting for it to pop. When it’s done, let it cool a little and eat it together.
IF you are really brave, pop the kernels on the stove but leave the lid off. Hold the corners of a clean bed sheet nearby to catch the kernels as they fly through the air. (Don’t try to catch the kernels in your mouth since they are very hot.)
*****This would work with making any food when there is a waiting time – making popsicles, making a pot of soup, or baking a cake or loaf of bread.
Why is it so hard to wait? (I want to eat it now; I’m hungry; it takes too long; etc.)
Read James 1:2-4. What can we learn from trouble? (Patience)
So waiting is actually good for us. As we learn to be patient, we are becoming more like Jesus/more mature.
How I Learned Patience Through a Hard Situation
How can you help your children face hard situations? I really can’t overstate how important it is to talk to your kids about your own struggles with hard situations. Hearing your story can actually be one way to give them courage. (If my dad was afraid on his first day of school and he made it, so can I!)
Write the following situations on slips of paper. (First day of school; spending the night away from home; a bad storm; facing a bully; getting lost from a parent; facing peer pressure; standing for what is right; and any others you think of.)
Let one person draw a slip of paper and read it aloud (or hand it to you so you can read it aloud). Ask the following questions:
How would you feel in this situation?
What can you do to help you face this situation with courage?
Continue letting each person pick a slip of paper and brainstorm ideas about what to do in each situation.