A Lesson in Patience

LET’S READ Moon’s First Friends: One Giant Leap for Friendship by Susanna Leonard Hill. Illustrated by Elisa Paganelli.

This book is a wonderful combination of fiction and nonfiction, telling the tale of the Moon who waits and waits and waits for visitors, and the story of the real people who walk on its surface for the first time. With the friendly Moon we learn the value of patience and hard work to make dreams come true.

Hill, Susanna Leonard, and Elisa Paganelli. Moons First Friends: One Giant Leap for Friendship. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2019.

You can get this book at your local library or independent bookstore, OR…


For us:  
Don’t you hate to wait? We have to wait for others, for things, and even for God. The only people who hate to wait more than we do, are children. But we can help our children learn patience, and be happier as a result.

In Moon’s First Friends, there’s a lot of waiting going on. Apparently, accomplishing the first Moon landing takes a lot of patience. In the story, the Moon waits for millions of years! In real life, President Kennedy, scientists, and astronauts do a lot of waiting too. But they are working while they wait, working to make it happen. In this way, they achieve something great. Just imagine the problem solving they had to do in order to reach that goal. They needed enough power to break through the earth’s gravity, so the first part of the rocket was designed. The moon landing was accomplished by patiently working out one solution at a time, from lift-off to splash down. And because of their diligence, a man walked on the moon for the first time 50 years ago, on July 20, 1969.  

How do we teach our kids that kind of patience? First we have to believe it’s important for our children to learn that virtue. In our throw-away culture that seems to revolve around instant gratification, it can be hard to recognize opportunities for practicing patience as a blessing. We want what we want right now. And so do our children. But patience is an essential piece of good character, a necessary part of having compassion for others and achieving goals. Therefore, delayed gratification has to become our friend.

Here are some ways to share the virtue of patience:

  1. Model patience. Waiting with a happy heart behind a slow driver? With irritating extended family members? When on hold with the insurance company? (Why don’t they have that option on the website?!)
  2. Be intentional about teaching patience to children. Waiting their turn is a great training ground. If our children don’t react well to waiting, the temptation is to avoid those situations to avoid the inevitable temper tantrum. “Maybe we won’t go to the park today, because the swings are sure to be busy.” “Let’s play a different game because it’s too hard to wait your turn with this one.” But in reality, that’s exactly the situation that a child needs to experience again, and again, and again. That’s how children learn. Avoiding the situation teaches children that waiting is traumatic and should be avoided. Provide your child with coping strategies like…
    1. Singing a waiting song such as this one sung to the tune of Row, Row, Row, Your Boat:
      Wait, wait, wait in line

      for my turn to start.
      Patience, patience, patience, patience
      with a happy heart.
    2. Name the feeling. Put words to the feelings the child is having: frustration, or anger, or sadness. Then look for signs of what other children are feeling. Identifying the feelings of others can lead to compassion. Is the person who is swinging feeling joy? What is the child who fell down feeling?
    3. Count your blessings. You have to be careful not to overuse this strategy and cheapen the idea of blessings. But a child at the playground has a lot to be thankful for. Playing I Spy Thankfulness may help to pass the time and grow patience. Gratitude can lighten the mood considerably. The directions for I Spy Thankfulness can be found at http://books4catholickids.com/a-lesson-in-gratitude/
    4. Talk about how to be patient BEFORE you are in a difficult moment. Practice situations in which waiting could be problematic. Role-play waiting in line at a carnival, to check-out in a store, or for you to finish your conversation with someone else.
    5. For a great strategy on teaching your child to be patient while you are on the phone or talking to another adult, go to https://meaningfulmama.com/week-2-character-development-patience_10.html
    6. Count backwards aloud with your child from 10, or 20, or 50 depending on the her age. It’s a good distraction when nothing else works.

For our children:
In the story, the Moon was very patient waiting for its first visitors. Even the real life scientists who were planning the first Moon landing had to be patient. They had to solve problem after problem in order to create the perfect rocket, Moon landing ship, and space suit. Eventually, all was ready and they traveled to the Moon! Waiting patiently for something can be very hard. Being patient means waiting without anger or sadness. Patience does make us happier, and it makes the people around us happier too. Every time we have to wait is an opportunity to practice patience. Remember, just like for the Moon, “not yet” can become “yes.”


  1. In the story, how did the Moon act patiently?
  2. In real life, how did the scientists and astronauts act patiently?
  3. When is it hard for you to be patient?
  4. Who needs you to be patient with them?
  5. How can you practice patience?

Make a Moon Snack

Making a snack together, takes patience – and teamwork, just like the team at NASA. For this snack you need: plain rice cakes, cream cheese, bananas to slice, and Cheerios.

You can find the directions for this snack at


Thanks to Stacy at www.thingstoshareandremember.com for this great snack idea!

Dear Lord,
Thank you for helping me grow.
Every day I grow.
I grow in size.
I grow in strength.
I grow in knowledge.
I grow in virtue.
I’m trying to make the virtue of patience a habit.
I try to wait with patience.
I try to be patient with others
even when I am annoyed.
Others are patient with me when I make mistakes.
You are patient with me when I make mistakes.
Being patient is one way I can grow
to be more like you, Jesus.
Help me to be more patient.
Thank you for all you have given me.
Thank you for patience.
Thank you for love.

patience: waiting without sadness or anger. In the story, Moon had to wait with patience for her first friends to arrive. In real life, President Kennedy had to wait with patience for scientists to solve the problems necessary to make the moon landing happen. Patience was paired with diligence: hard work, taking the many necessary small steps to reach a goal.

1 Thessalonians 5:14
“We urge you brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all.”

Also, Genesis 17:1-6, 17.
This is the story of Abraham and Sarah who waited many, many, many, many years to have a child. You can read it aloud from a good children’s Bible.  

Write “I am so patient” on the top of a piece of blue paper and post it on the refrigerator. Whenever anyone in the family tries to be patient and succeeds, add a star to the paper. You can draw stars or use stickers, but fill up that “space” with stars!

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