There are three attributes we need to strengthen in ourselves when working with children: Courage, Faith and Patience.
- Courage to know we are doing the right thing.
- Faith in knowing that by observing children involved in activity that they will reveal their true selves to us.
- And we must have patience to endure the inevitable obstacles.
Courage comes from knowing our own hearts, our values, and our principles.
Once we are clear about our direction and why we want to go there, courage seems to follow. We have to show confidence in our children’s abilities by giving them responsibility. With courage, we ask for our children’s advice and opinions. We avoid overprotecting or rescuing our children from difficulties. Courage allows us to focus on our children’s strengths and zero in on improvement versus perfection. Courage helps us see our children as unique personalities, each a person on an individual schedule of development. Courage allows us to separate mistakes from personal worth. Courage allows us to help our children become independent. We know that allowing our children to stand on their own two feet is desirable.
Faith allows us to know we will get to the other side, somehow.
Perhaps not as we originally planned, but often with better results. We have to have faith that in the natural process of human development, that children will make positive choices concerning their interests and passions. Learning with interest and passion leads to the development of skills and talent that build personal strength. Faith allows us to help our children find the place that intersects with what they love to do and what they do well. As we watch for signs of how a child spends time and what he or she is happiest doing, we discover that child’s true self. Our faith is certainly a virtue in helping our children reach their potential.
Patience is key when we work with children.
Being aware of patterns of development helps us know whenever difficulty is encountered that “this too shall pass.” The messy six-year-old journeys through many stages to emerge as an adult. The detached teenager transforms with confidence. The silent college student emerges with independence. We nourish, we protect, we strengthen, and we wait for children to grow and change on their own timetable. Our gift of patience allows our children to rise above obstacles that might otherwise deter them. Complications in personal development are unavoidable, and at times, each of us has a long hill to climb, a boulder we can’t get over, a river we can’t ford. Our patience grants our children a chance to reconsider their paths, and models a potentiality for another course of action.
Life offers growth, challenges, and possibilities. As parents and teachers, we are the gardeners creating conditions for optimum growth. We nourish, we protect, and we strengthen. We wait for the harvest. That takes courage, faith and patience.