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Waiting

Waiting

I pat my thigh with a smile and nod at him.

He silently slips off his mother’s lap, squeezes through the line of knees and tight pews until I can put my hands around his warm sweetness and draw him up against me.

“Hi Grandma,” his child whisper hisses to the rows of people around us. His mom and dad frown, and I quickly raise a finger to my lips.

I swing his little being into the nest of my arms.

“Just a little longer,” I mouth into his velvet soft ear.

I grit my teeth. Grandma-love washes over me so strong I restrain from the hug that would make him squeal like a pig.

“This week,” the preacher’s roll seems to be slowing. “Look around you…”

And Kellan swivels at the waist to look behind me on the right and then the left.

My daughter watches with an uneasy twinkle in her eye and a twitch at the corner of her mouth.

I stretch downward for my purse, one hand around Kellan’s middle and rummage for a tiny Golden Book that I’ve carried for a generation. He quiets and twists to meet my eyes, a smile replaces the angst. He knows what’s coming.

With The Pokey Little Puppy crushed between dimpled hands, Kellan shifts his weight back and forth on his little bottom. His blonde head tucks and lifts, his chin touches his collar and stretches back toward the ceiling. He is ready to pop like a shaken soda can.

I softly stroke his neck and ear and the writhing momentarily quiets. I run a finger up and down his back and he leans against me.

Waiting is agony, especially for children. But when parents train their children to know how to wait, it has lifetime benefits.

Waiting teaches:

  • Self-discipline. Self-control is a discipline. Learning to withhold rather than react is an important aspect of maturity.
  • Humility. Waiting is uncomfortable proof that it is not all about me.
  • Surrender. Waiting requires I yield my will to the person or circumstance causing the wait.
  • Trust. Respect for authority and reliance on another can be learned through waiting. In Scripture, waiting is connected with God’s Sovereignty.

King David was well trained in the art of waiting. He didn’t seem to like it either. In fact, it was during a wait that he was especially susceptible to temptation and it led to the greatest downfall of his reign.

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him…” David advises in Ps. 37:7 (KJV).

How can we promote waiting skills in our children?

Here are a few tips that may help:

  • Explain as best you can what he or she should expect beforehand, and how you expect your child to act. Build confidence that he or she can do it.
  • Praise good behavior. Associate a good wait with good consequences, a bad wait with bad consequences. Follow through.
  • Be prepared to wait. Make it as interactive as possible. Have a book or quiet activity ready. Increase your repertoire of quiet games. In the doctor’s office “I spy” might be appropriate, while in the car the “ABC game” or singing together makes the trip go faster.
  • Recognize the child’s age and attention span limits and accept it. Adjust for tiredness, stimulus, and situation. Make sure your expectations are age appropriate or both of you will end up frustrated.

Be silent, be still,David wrote, in Psalm 37. Wait patiently.

But here’s the odd part. In the original, wait patiently “chuwl” means twist, whirl, dance, writhe, travail in anguish and be pained.

It doesn’t sound patient. It sounds real, like the hopping dance your child does when he needs to go to the bathroom.

The sermon continues and Kellan twists on my lap with the anguish of wait.

His parents look at one another, judge the clock and wonder if they should take him out or if he will make it.

Engrossed in The Pokey Little Puppy, he fingers the picture, caressing the rebellious fifth brown and white doggy.

One final concluding question shoots from the pulpit into the audience.

“Do you have peace?” Pastor asks.

Kellan, without skipping a beat, raises his head and says loudly into the sepulchral silence, “Yes.”

You just never know.

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. She and her husband raised four children in Italy and Germany, where they were missionaries with Avant. Their children are all married and they have twelve grandchildren. Visit her blog, When the House is Quiet, at sylviaschroeder.com.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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