The 6th Day of Christmas: The Place of Patience

By: Rachel Doherty | Tweens 2 Teen

As the family gathers together at Christmas, patience is one of those things you need in spades.

Have you noticed that for kids the last few days before Christmas go so slow, but for adults they race by? I think we’ve just hit that point again this year!

The wonderful thing about Christmas is drawing close to people. But in the middle of that our differences can become annoying or frustrating. And that’s where we each need a pinch of patience to get through.

Patience is a willingness to stick at something despite a delay or problem. It’s the ability to put up with things without getting annoyed or worrying too much too. Some days you have more patience than others. We all have times where our patience gets spread a little thin.

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.”- Calvin Coolidge

This article is part of my series for the 12 days of Christmas. Each day I unwrap one gift we can all give this Christmas, that won’t cost any money. Today it’s all about patience.

Practicing patience in a hurried world

The busy pace of life these days and all the technology around us hides the need for patience. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t get better at it.

Here’s ten tips to help your family have more patience this Christmas:

1. Don’t be too quick to make everyone happy. It does us all good to wait for things we want, or get through the messy bits to get to the good stuff. Don’t fall into the trap of working so hard to please others and making yourself miserable in the process.

2. Show that accepting difference is part of getting along. One thing that seems to get in the way of people being patient is our differences. Learning to tolerate others is an important step to having more patience.

3. Deal with the rushing syndrome. If you feel you’ve got too much to do, have another look at the list and cross a few things off. Often we want things to be more perfect than they need to be. Stress that goes on and on doesn’t just steal your patience, it’s also bad for your health.

4. Look for frayed edges. When the kids are home for the holidays and everyone is together, you can often see the early warning signs of cabin fever. Don’t leave things to sort themselves out, but be proactive. Talk about what you’re seeing and offer some options to create a bit of space. The same goes on Christmas day. If there are people who have little tolerance for one another, put a plan together to keep them circulating.

“Friends love through all kind of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” – Hebrew proverb

5. Know the triggers. We all have things that press our buttons and set us off. Be observant of what they are for yourself, your family and visitors this Christmas. It’s much easier to stay patient if you know what might make you lose it.

6. Turn impatience into patience. If you find someone annoying or a situation frustrating, look for one thing that you can focus on to get through it.

7. Put things in perspective. If your patience is getting thin, think about what will matter most in one, or five, or even 1o years. Looking at the big picture often helps you to work out what to do right now.

8. Breathe. Shut out the world for a few seconds and focus on yourself. Remind yourself that you’re good and doing your best.

9. Hold your tongue. It’s way better to say nothing than say the wrong thing. Slow down your response to challenging situations by thinking before you speak.

10. Take a break. Do something different. If everyone is getting on each other’s nerves, then go for a walk or head to the park. Push the kids outside for a while or organise a friend to come over. Changing up the dynamics can help everyone to get along better.

It’s one of those qualities that we all take for granted until we lose it. Patience is something we have to keep working on and start over when we get frustrated or angry. But keeping a hold on it also helps to made even the oddest collon of people at Christmas time work.

Article supplied with thanks to Tweens 2 Teen.

About the Author: Rachel Doherty helps those living and working with young people, through supervision, coaching, speaking and consulting.