Object Lesson: Patience is watching paint dry


I hope today’s lesson theme will be useful to youthful ministries, home devotionals and family home evenings. Today many of us are in a rush. We have shorter screen shots when watching TV, we frequently have a lot more quick action in books than time consuming characterization. The best books are those that can have both but too often one attribute is sacrificed for the other. The same complaint might be made of certain movies being dedicated to special effects rather than plot or character development.

I wonder if we would have the patience of construct the pyramids of Egypt today. I would certainly have a hard time waiting. I have enough hard time waiting for the next Hobbit movie to come out.

We want to drive at faster speeds, eat fast foods, have fast internet and seek fast solutions. Often some of the biggest goals we desire to achieve require great patience. Sometimes it doesn’t matter that certain local and national problem have taken years in the making, we desire a quick and painless solution when real solutions might require sacrifice as well as time to mend.

Discuss with the class or the family different examples of things that take time to be made. You might clock the amount of time it takes to bake a cake or even to put together a very complicated puzzle. You might discuss how long it takes to read a long book to build a castle out of blocks. Have a timer and do various tasks or chores around the house and see how long they each take. Discuss why they take a while and maybe brainstorm on ways to make a certain task easier and faster.

You might discuss how working together on a job might make it easier or planning out how you will accomplish a chore before you begin it so that your tasks have direction. Have some examples of short and easy tasks and ones that might take days or weeks to be accomplished. Growing a garden requires patience and attention.

Items needed: a board, paint, paint brush, a fan and a box of disposable plastic gloves (often used in the fast catering or medical industry)

One of the best examples I find as an example of patience is watching paint dry. Have a board outside and paint it with everyone watching. Have a timer. After you paint it have a family member put on a disposable glove and to touch the still wet pain. The paint hasn’t even had a chance to dry. Discuss why different objects are painted: some of the reasons include
1. to improve its appearance
2. prevent rust or erosion
3. soften the texture
4. Delay aging

Now put the timer on for 5 minutes, turn the fan on toward the wet board and do something else until the dinger goes off. Now have a new family member use a glove and touch the paint. Does any paint come off on the glove? Do the same thing an hour later after the family or class has done some other task. Does the pain come off?

Discuss various reasons for waiting for the paint to dry. Finger prints mess up the paint job and mess up the glove and the area you touch now have less paint than the rest or the board. Will it be more vulnerable to erosion than the rest of the wood that has thicker pain job?

Include some discussions of things that took years to accomplish. Some examples might include man landing on the moon, the civil rights movement, the technological age and building a new highway system. Discuss other, shorter examples. Maybe discuss some of the planning behind a big project that might explain why patience is required to achieve a task. Discuss how many smaller goals might contribute to a larger achievement.

Come back to the paint two hours later. Look for a still wet area of the board or rub the board. Does paint still get on a glove?

Meet 24 hours later and study the status of the board. Discuss the rewards of patience such as the birth of a child or learning how to play an instrument. By making a plan and organizing your efforts a goal may have a higher success rate. Something that is planned in advance and where the planners include possible worse case scenarios may be prepared to respond to an unpredictable occurrence because the people behind the project has already imagined different possibilities. 

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