I still recall driving home the evening before lockdown. We had been at my family’s house and the kids and I were driving back. I had mentioned that we were going into lockdown and that we would have lots of time together as a family and that it was to keep us safe. The boys seemed very excited by the whole thing and as we pulled into the driveway the youngest said, “We made it! When are they putting the barricades up?” Clearly he was picturing a scene from Paw Patrol.
As we all know, not even Paw Patrol could save us from a long period of stay-at-home orders and school online. As much as I valued and loved the extra time I had to spend with my two young boys I found that patience, and then some more patience, was required every day. They have energy levels that make an Olympic hurdler look lazy, and their latest interest is all things ninja.
Helping my son with his online lessons, and teaching through my own Google Classroom was tricky. Overwhelmingly, I felt supported by all my students; your lovely children! Although they did approach Google Meets hesitantly and, at times, viewed the mic like the big bad wolf, they were very patient. They patiently listened, they patiently participated, they patiently grew in confidence and they patiently learned. The experience was a unique one for each student but I really think we all got to practice patience. I received some lovely emails from students and as much as I value students achieving their individual best, I also value the development of their character. I saw many students develop character through this time.
I don’t think patience is something that we value very much in today’s context. As a history teacher, I would observe that our past decades operated at a slower pace. We had more time to think, more time to process, and as much as technology has transformed our world in positive ways, I think it is also transforming our patience into impatience.
Our history syllabus encourages students to be empathetic. To reflect on another perspective and attempt to understand, we must choose to spend time, to be patient. The Civil Rights Movement took great patience, soldiers on either side of the trenches waited patiently before “going over the top” (of a trench). Today we all still struggle to show love to our neighbour. You will have likely heard of the famous definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13. It first describes love as patient.
Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.Ephesians 4:2
We have returned to school, which is wonderful. It has been great to see your children in person again and watch them connect with friends. There is a lovely buzz at the moment, but friendships, teaching and parenting will always require patience. The Lord calls us to be patient with one another, but he also asks us to wait patiently for him. As Christians, we patiently put faith in his will for our lives, and we patiently wait for his promised return.