CHILDREN,TIME AND PATIENCE
We all become aware of how fast time flies as we get older. At the same time we often wonder why children seem so impatient. The fact is the two things are related. It all boils down to the concepts of perception and perspective. Perception is the way we see something. Perspective has to do with using our knowledge and life experience to make sense of what our senses are telling us. Perception is of course reality at least to the one holding the perception. This holds true for that person even if the perception later turns out to be false.
Now lets look at how this applies to children, time, and patience. First of all we need to remember that time is only a figment of our mutual imaginations. Time was created thousands of years ago as part of man’s effort to understand the world around him. You cannot see time. You cannot taste time. You cannot even feel time. It has no existence in the natural world. Time exists only because it is a mutually accepted way of perceiving the motions of the Earth and other planets.
In fact to the smallest children time doesn’t exist ! They know nothing of lunch being at 12, only that they are hungry. They know nothing about bedtime being at 7 or 8 o’clock only that they are sleepy. Once children become old enough to grasp time as a way to understand their daily routine perception begins to come into play.
For instance a 24 year old parent is about 210,240 hours old. A two year old on the other hand is 17,520 hours old. The effect of this is that the two year old perceives an hour to be 12 times longer than the parent ! Know wonder kids raise such a fuss about waiting an hour for something ! Lets look at another example . You are a 35 year old parent, you tell your 13 year old you will do something next week. You are about 1820 weeks old. Your teen on the other hand is about 676 weeks old. So from your teen’s perspective the wait seems almost 3 times longer than it does for you. One more example, as adults we have to do many things every 30 days. A 22 year old parent is 8,030 days old, a 9 year old is 3,285 days old. So to the 9 year old each day is over twice as long as it is for the parent.
This also shows the value of perspective when dealing with such a situation. The key is to look at it from the child’s perspective. It also helps to bear in mind that the additional maturity you have gained over the years makes it easier for you to be patient. Your life experience has given you a perspective on the priorities of daily life that your teen simply cannot have yet. They have not yet been an adult fortunately you were once a teen !
This is were the leadership part of being a parent comes in. Any leader benefits by looking at things from the perspective of those they are trying to lead. Working with children cam be very much the same. It is not always easy. As adults in this modern world we often feel rushed. Our kids get impatient, we get frustrated, and everything gets harder for everybody than it needs to be. So when you feel yourself getting frustrated because your child is getting impatient, take a breath. Reconsider how the length of time involved looks to the child instead of how it looks to you. Remember what it was like when you were young.