Saturday, March 5

fruits: patience


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22

Having patience when we know that it is for the good of others. 

Patience is hard. It's really hard. 

My first placement of student teaching {as you've heard a hundred times} was in a Daily Living Skills classroom. It was not until then, did I truly learn the meaning of patience. The first day of school, my incredible mentor teacher told me that the hardest thing I was going to have to do was to let the students do the work themselves. I kind of thought that was ridiculous--I want to be a teacher, of course I'm going to let them do it themselves. Well, she was right, and I was so very wrong. 

If they needed a chair moved to another table, my first instinct was to jump up and do it for them... so that we could move on with class and so they wouldn't have do it themselves. Mrs. Nic constantly had to say "No, Kelsie. Let them do it." For a child with Down Syndrome, moving that chair could take a solid 20 minutes. But even if it did, that was part of their learning experience. Realizing that they could do it on their own. Recognizing their achievements, and treating each achievement as if they had won an Olympic gold medal. And that's what we did. We waited and encouraged and guided while they moved that chair themselves. 

When we started cooking came the real test of my patience. Not because I got frustrated with them, but because I wanted to make things easier for them. I wanted them to be able to see the end product more quickly. I wanted them to be able to finish. But the end product isn't necessarily what is important. It's the things they accomplish along the way. It's the journey in getting to that end product. Even if it meant covering up that bowl of dough and starting over the next day. I had to continually remind myself that my patience would contribute to the betterment of their education. Increasing their world knowledge. Giving them the satisfaction of knowing they did it on their own. 

It was the hardest thing I've ever done. I thought it would be easy, and I was wrong. And the part that got me the most was that I thought I was looking out for their best interests in the beginning. It took me the longest to realize that my patience, even though it might mean they had to work through a difficult situation alone, was key to their independence. I longed to make things easier and "to help them," but that wasn't what was best for them.  

Patience got me through that semester. It taught me to look at the process, and appreciate the journey. It taught me how valuable independence is. It taught me that even though we have counted the same set of coins 7,235 times, it will be a moment I'll never forget on that 7,236th time. 

I'm so grateful for that lesson in patience. Patience comes in many forms, and shows itself in many situations. All of them may be different, but all of them will have an impact in our own lives and in the lives of those touched by our patience. 

love always, 

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