12 Days of Christmas Parenting
It’s hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner! It seems like we just celebrated Thanksgiving a few days ago. This time last year, I posted a holiday blog tour called: “The 12 Days of Christmas Parenting” on the blogs some of my favorite people. This year, I’ll be posting those articles on my blog for those who either missed it last year – or need a reminder for some practical ways to lead your kids during this busy season!
I’ll share tips for parents on how to navigate the difficult traps of the holidays, and create moments with life long impact. We’ll talk about 12 ideas to combat ingratitude, selfishness and impatience — and encourage generosity in your children, especially through the holidays.
Last December, this post originally appeared on Pete Wilson’s blog. He is the founder and senior pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN. He and his wife, Brandi, have 3 boys.
Growing Patience in Your Kids at Christmas
Patience is a virtue. At least, that’s what they say. I say it’s a rare gem. Few of us have much of it in our day and culture. And our kids? They’re growing up with a “Google Reflex” expecting everything to come instantly — answers to questions, food, text replies, favorite songs… you name it.
This immediate gratification thing is even worse during the holidays. It’s just hard to wait. For all of us. Christmas, however, is supposed to be a time of waiting and anticipation — just like it was in Bethlehem. (Remember, Christ was born after four hundred years of God’s silence.)
Sit down with your children and talk over this idea of “waiting.” Discuss how hard it is for everyone. Even adults. Talk about how people through history had to wait long periods for almost anything valuable. Then, talk about how impatient people are today. (Remember Target shoppers getting trampled on Black Friday at 4:00 am?) Finally, have a conversation about how your family could build a little patience in each member during the holiday season.
For instance, for the remaining days in December, leading up to Christmas, you could offer a dollar-a-day for each of your children who can last the longest without complaining or becoming impatient about how long Christmas is taking. (Remind the young ones — 18 days means $18 dollars!) The ability to delay gratification is a sure sign of maturity in kids.
I have a friend whose twelve-year-old son, Nick, wanted a popular video game. It was sure to sell out on the first weekend it was released. Nick begged him to let him get it — although he didn’t have enough money. My friend did a wise thing. He said, “Son, I will pay for this video game so we can get it today. However, I will hold on to it until you can pay for it with your own money. This way, you know for sure you won’t miss out on it, but you’ll learn to appreciate it by waiting until you can really afford it. It was one of the greatest lessons Nick learned that year. He told me so himself!
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient until it gets the early and late rains. You, too, be patient; strengthen your hearts…” (James 5:7-8)
What can you do this Christmas season to develope patience in your kids?