Dr. Rich Patterson

Patience & Gratitude = Latitude

Today I want to write to you about teaching our kids patience and gratitude.  So often, we come to expect certain conventions, certain things to happen because they always have or because we want them to happen.  But what happens when they don’t happen?  Do we get angry, do we show our impatience?  Maybe we even get mad enough to insult others because something didn’t go our way.  What if we turned the timetable back 100 years or even 200 years?

What if those citizens were able to see what we do have today and express their amazement at the things we get to do?  What if they could see the things we get angry about compared to what they have?  I think they would be embarrassed by our behavior, even surprised by the things that irritate us.

Teaching our kids patience and gratitude gives them latitude.  I’m thinking of space as giving us freedom of thought and action.  When we think about being patient and grateful, we allow others to be themselves.  We watch them, in a sense, from a distance and see their behaviors as incomplete, undesirable.  Often, I like to think of it as being suspended in time, and a parade goes by with the same behaviors of impatience and ungratefulness that can be irritating to me.  I allow them to go on by and watch them disappear in the distance, and then I can move on with my pace.  I think there isn’t any better example of this than driving.

If you are driving into a construction area, a lane is closed in a mile or so, and everyone can read the sign, but they pass you trying to cut in front of you and others to gain a better place in line.  No one gets there any sooner, but it is frustrating.  It requires that we suspend our reaction a bit and think patience, watches them get all worked up, and push themselves in front of others.  While that is going on, you can guess, “I’m glad that I’m not like that right now.”

The same is valid with gratitude.  When we are grateful, we have peace about us.  We lose our expectations of things, which causes many of our problems in the first place.  We think of how things should have gone, how someone should have behaved, or how someone should be driving.  Then we lose our place in terms of latitude.  Our thinking and actions begin to mirror those around us when we want just the opposite.

Help your kids understand how patience and gratitude for what they have and where they are, regardless of circumstances, would look like a million bucks to someone 100 years ago.  If we think about it, some of our worst days would still look fabulous to them due to their more grim circumstances.  It is then that we have the freedom to think clearly, and we can take action following our actual goals for ourselves.

In a series that I wrote using nature as a metaphor, I write about patience and presence here, Roots, Patience, and Presence – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Hessun academy has a post on 5 Strategies that will be helpful for you here, 5 Strategies to Teaching Kids Patience (


I hope you enjoy this!

Yours for Better Parenting,