We come into this world with a total lack of patience. We cry when we are experiencing hunger, wet diapers, tiredness or other unsettling experiences. We demand, and usually get immediate satisfaction in part because those charged with our care want us to stop crying, but also because, out of their love for us, they really want our needs to be met so we will be satisfied and content. They are patient with us, even in the midst of our impatience.
From these beginnings, we gradually learn to be patient. It may be something as simple as waiting for our turn to play with a toy another child has at the moment. We learn to eat at pre-determined meal times, not simply on demand. We learn to be patient until it is our turn. This can be in simple games we play with others. It continues in school, where we learn to raise our hand and wait to be called on before speaking out in class.
We learn patience as we move toward longer term goals. The transitions in the school structure-elementary, junior high and high school, ideally teach us to be patient as we progress from one level to another. Even waiting for things like vacation, Spring break and summer time all help to reinforce the benefits to be gained from being patient.
Patience is a vital part of our adult lives as well. We learn patience in waiting for adult relationships to develop. Sometimes patience involves putting up with people who make us uncomfortable. It is clearly an act of maturity to develop patience in these situations.
As we move forward, it might be helpful to assess our own level of patience in various situations. A good way to think about this is to consider how people respond to us in a variety of settings. Are we someone people want to be around and to spend time with, or are we a person others tend to avoid?
Careful listening is a way to develop patience. This, coupled with a sincere interest in others, tends to identify a patient person. Most of us would agree patience seems to be in short supply in our world at large. This may be why patient people are valued and sought after in developing and building lasting, meaningful relationships.
As we move forward, it is a worthy goal to seek to develop patience in everything we do. The world certainly needs more patient people. I pledge to be one. How about you?If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.
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