Practice Makes Patience

by in Family and Faith

I bought my two-year-old an advent calendar.

He loved it, of course, at first. His eyes widened and eyebrows raised when a chocolate square popped out of the number one flap. About .2 seconds after he swallowed the chocolate-y goodness, he asked the question.


My hand covered my face. What was I thinking?!

I tried explaining that if he ate them all now, he wouldn’t have any for tomorrow and the day after and the day after that. That didn’t sound too bad to him. He wailed on.

I tried explaining that it was a countdown. When we ran out of chocolate squares, it would be Christmas – we would celebrate with lots of yummy goodness, and there would be presents under the tree. These treats were only a fraction of what was to come.

He ran to the tree, glared at me, and asked… More?

Ryan hid the calendar in the cupboard, and fifteen minutes later he finally moved on. For the time being.

Part of me that wondered if this was really worth it. Should I let him have a few more pieces? He’s only two. He doesn’t really understand waiting. Will it be worth the daily battle?

But I know the sobering facts about his biological makeup. To say he doesn’t have patience naturally is a vast understatement. I know he will never naturally enjoy waiting. I know it will always be a daily battle.

Which means he needs to learn to be patient. Which means he needs to practice.

Advent is about anticipation, waiting, stilling, being.

For the past few mornings when I barely open my eyes and am sheepishly walking to the coffee pot, Bronson clamors “Hi Mama!” Then, immediately, “Board treat please?” (Translation = Advent calendar)

We get it out of the cupboard, find the number of the day and enjoy a little chocolate square. We say “Bye Advent calendar” and put it away.

I’m shocked at the success of it. He not only waits for a new treat each day, he waits until I wake up,  often about an hour after he has. Sometimes he asks for it throughout the day, but I tell him he can have more tomorrow, and he just slaps his hand on his knee, throws his head back and cries “Oh…yeah!”

It appears practicing patience actually works.

I guess I better start, too.

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