I find that patience is a hot commodity these days. Literally, having access to the world at the push of a button boggles the mind, but don’t think about that too much. I know we’re used to it. I understand that kids are born into a world that doesn’t know life without a touchscreen and virtual reality. A world with such immediacy neither fosters nor tolerates patience well. Patience, as they say, is a virtue. Well, I don’t hear much talk about virtue either. I do believe that perhaps both may be in short supply lately. Both patience and virtue are necessary ingredients for peace of mind, and even though our culture has grown to believe that faster is better. I don’t think peace of mind, oftentimes available only by being patient, will ever go out of fashion.
Patience, as I am often reminded, is not my strong suit. I’m not terrible at being patient. Having kids certainly helped me improve my ability to be patient. I have my limitations, and I bring this up today, because I was again reminded that I “need to be patient”. Not the first time I’ve heard that, probably not the last. Either way, it was a gentle and useful reminder.
You see, life throws a lot of things at you. More often than not, one has no control over any given situation or certain variables that impact the situation. When you experience a circumstance as stressful or uncertainty looms large, patience can come in handy. In life, the express lane through a problem does not exist. I don’t know about you, but more than once I have had the thought “Wake me when it’s over.”. That’s not my original line, I know I’m not alone in this.
So, what is patience? Patience requires waiting with a positive, or at least satisfactory attitude. It requires accepting things as they are. It requires practice. Life can teach us about patience, if we open our minds to learning the lesson of patience and its inherent value. Being patient with life and others is virtuous. And what is virtue? Virtue is doing good for its own sake, or doing the right thing. Having a conscience that’s free and clear has immeasurable value. Inevitably, patience allows for events to unfold and the necessary time to gain perspective. Patience tends to be nonjudgmental and kind versus impulsive and unforgiving.
Do not underestimate the value of patience. The research is clear that those who can tolerate delaying gratification tend to be much better at managing frustration and stress, and generally fare better in school and life, get along with others, and are generally healthier. Learning patience has its challenges, but has invaluable rewards. So, teach your children and yourself well. Teach by example. Live by example. Be patient with yourselves and others.
Love and Peace,