How Building a Birdhouse Taught My Son Patience

My son, Caleb, absolutely loves nature and animals. What he doesn’t love is waiting. 

Patience has been one of the most challenging lessons to teach Caleb. Ironically, as I write this blog post and reflect, it has also been a hard lesson to learn myself..Repeating over and over “just be patient” on a daily basis. Though, as I feel like a broken record- something clicked today and I am thankful to share a bit of hope to those that may be struggling to teach your child patience. Patience is essential for all ages. I love this birdhouse example because it represented the ultimate test of time for our family!

A few Spring seasons ago, Caleb couldn’t wait to hang a special, handmade birdhouse in our backyard. From the moment my grandfather presented the wooden birdhouse, Caleb rushed it into the yard. “There!” He pointed at a tree to hang it and watched closely for birds to immediately take residence. Silence in the backyard, and disappointment washed over his face. This was the beginning of a three-year waiting game that ultimately has given a life lesson brought FULL circle to our household. 

I took the opportunity to talk through how it could take months for a bird to discover the house and make a little home. Little did we know, it would take a bird family years to discover this house. 

Building a Birdhouse; Building Patience

Building a birdhouse is a fun project—you can start by building your own (there are kits online) or at your local craft store. From the beginning stages of building the house, compare the birdhouse to your home, and talk through how much time it took to build the home your child lives in. Personally, this was a fun little chat with Caleb. We talked about what it was like when we picked the floors, the colors for the walls, and how much we enjoy the house we live in now. Talking through this made it that much more meaningful as we dreamed up how excited a little bird family would be in the home we had for him. 

Next up, there’s no patience like the patience of watching paint dry. PAINTING TAKES TIME! Caleb painted each side of the birdhouse slowly. We talked through how important it was to paint very carefully and not get our space messy along the way. We waited for each coat to dry, taking breaks in between and looked around the backyard for the best place to put our birdhouse. We chose a spot by our backyard window so we could keep a careful eye on the house.

Now, the long part. It took two, almost THREE, full springs before we finally had a bird family move in. Caleb was six when this project started and he just recently turned nine! He is much older now, and understands the meaning of patience way beyond when he was six. The look on his face when he opened the birdhouse this spring was absolutely priceless. Oh my gosh, SO excited. He peaked inside the house and the sound in his voice seeing a little nest filled with bird eggs was like discovering presents Christmas morning. Happiest boy on the planet!

Immediately when he came to me with the news, he reminded me of our several conversations about waiting. Caleb hugged me and he told me how worth the wait this moment was. I admitted to him that I even wondered if a bird would ever discover that birdhouse. I couldn’t believe one didn’t move in sooner! But we both celebrated this gift of life this spring has come to fruition in our backyard. And I celebrated the gift of patience this project has taught my little boy.



Sarah Crilley
Sarah Crilley lives in Plano, Texas with her 9-year-old son Caleb, fiancè Nick, adopted french bulldog Daisy. They are introducing the newest member of the family, Rocky Elliott the Hedgehog! (Yes..hedgehog😂) With hands full balancing "working mommy-life" Sarah works full-time managing the team at Real News PR in Dallas. She is a lover of coffee, listening to podcasts, attending community events, social media, and writing! She enjoys connecting and sharing with other moms. Sarah has been a contributor for CCMB since October 2016! She loves blogging and plans to incorporate video into some of her posts.


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