There are many things that we all want right now — an end to the pandemic, a return to a sense of “normalcy,” a hug from those we love, an evening out at our favorite restaurant, a vaccine, the safety to gather together once again.
These things will come, and they will be slow in coming.
It is a time to practice patience and to model patience for our children. Patience is what will keep us safe.
Patience is defined as “the ability to endure difficult circumstances such as perseverance in the face of delay; tolerance of provocation without responding in annoyance or anger; or forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties.” All of those apply to what we are faced with in a pandemic.
Here are ways to nurture your patience as well as to guide your children to develop their own:
Remain in touch with others. A friend has a wonderful practice. Whenever she thinks of someone during the day, she commits to calling them. Who have you or your children been missing? Whose day would you like to brighten by making that call?
Consider remaining in touch by reviving the wonderful practice of writing letters. Write or draw with your kids, and then send your creations off to someone you love.
Be kind with others. Everyone is stressed and doing the best that they can. Kindness does matter. Pause before communicating. Process what you are feeling before speaking about a problem. Simply say hello when passing by someone.
Care for yourself. Check in each day to see how you are doing physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. How does your body feel? Do you need to slow down or take time for yourself? Teach your children to do the same.
Plan what you will do post-pandemic. Anticipation is half the joy, so begin thinking of what you would like to do when this is over — when it is safe to see friends and family, when it is safe to travel. Create a family bucket list.
What is it you would like to achieve now? Imagine looking back after this is over. What would you like to have accomplished? A friend is revamping her website and adapting courses to be available virtually. Another friend is writing a book. I launched a parenting program, Parenting Week by Week. Reading a series of books, painting a room or exercising daily are all worthy endeavors.
Patience lies in the small steps. Relish each step as it leads you to a new place.