Biding Your Time 2: Parents, Children and Books

Photo by Nappy

Once Upon A Time

In many traditional fairy tales and folk stories the virtue of patience and the evil of revenge are common themes. When you are biding your time you are waiting for an opportunity to act. For some this means patience to wait for the right time to do something positive and for others it is to wait to deliver revenge. They say revenge is a dish best served cold so those who seek revenge may plot and plan for years.

Of course it is a natural human feeling that if we are hurt by others that we might have revengeful thoughts and children love to see a villain get his or her comeuppance in a book or show such as a pantomime. But parents and teachers would not be completely happy teaching children that revenge is a good thing. Yes, good should overcome evil but it is probably better for the villain to see the error of their ways.

Cynthia ( in one of her blogs discusses this topic of revenge in children’s books.

‘ I wonder if feel-good revenge is a concept intended only for adults to enjoy. Although there are definitely stories about revenge involving adolescents in young adult lit, I see stories about revenge in picture books or middle grade novels less frequently. When a young character is mistreated or maligned in  most children’s books, the subtle message of taking the high road or using your wit to outsmart the villain often overrides the notion of “playing dirty” to even the score. Even when a revenge seeker makes an appearance in children’s literature, they are often adults or non-humans.’

But she does say that Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda’ is an exception. ‘But there are exceptions.  In MATILDA, Matilda plays all sorts of tricks on the adults who cut her down, from putting crazy glue on her father’s hat to using telekinesis  to intimidate the headmistress at her school. And she gets away with all this consequence and guilt-free.’

Learning To Be Patient

Photo by Artem Podrez

Kirsten ( in her blog lists what people with patience have. They…

  • are tolerant of others
  • wait calmly
  • keep calm in extreme situations
  • control their temper
  • show humility
  • don’t rush from one task to another
  • have contentment
  • focus on tasks, completing them at their own pace
  • show empathy to others
  • are reflective

Kirsten recommends 30 picture books that highlight restraint, patience, endurance and how things are worth waiting for.

Poem for Parents

Patience Brings Gifts  (by Eileen Moynihan)

P arents need patience
A ctions can be delayed
T antrums will calm
I nstruct by example
E ndurance teaches
N egativity kills hope
C onfidence builds it
E ternal love lives

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