“How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young?” ~ Paul Sweeney …
Speaking as a parent, I am well aware of the responsibility I have to decide what morals, ethics, and values I instill in my children through the lessons I teach them. And that same duty exists for every single one of us who is in a position to teach, coach, and pass on some knowledge to our younger generations–parents, grandparents, educators, coaches, role models, mentors, older siblings, and right on down the line. In reality, if we as a society do not like the type of people that our youth are becoming, then we really have no right to point the finger of blame at them. Instead, we should look at what we are teaching them through our words, actions, and examples, and then ask ourselves what we would have turned out like if we had been given those very same lessons when we were young. This line of thought helps us to look some of the positive changes we can make in our lives that are well within our possibility.
So why do we as a society push the narrative of “instant mashed potatoes?” It is not as if we need to hasten our death, right. So many of our failures and deficiencies in life are a result of our impatience, of our aversion toward taking our time and allowing things to come to fruition. But life works in its own time. And not only does impatience rarely lead to the desired result, it also breeds stress, anger, frustration, and a whole slew of negative emotions that are straight-up bad for our health. I have watched my oldest daughter become frustrated while learning to read, to ride a bike, to swim, and to ice skate, then wanting to call it quits because she felt she was not good enough after only a few attempts. This was a wonderful reminder of how often I let those same feelings overcome me, forgetting that I have my whole lifetime ahead of me to learn anything I want to learn and that practice over time yields positive and measurable results.
Patience is a virtue. And despite all the influences in our lives trying to convince us that things need to be done much quicker, we have a responsibility and a right to take life at our own pace and to truly live it and enjoy it. I cannot tell you how many times I have missed a call only to listen to an angry voicemail a few hours later. We need to slow down, and we need to teach our children how to slow down too so that generations to come can discover the beauty and power of patience.
Practice and display patience with others today.
Questions to consider:
Why do so many people have to do so many things so darn quickly?
What are some of the advantages to having developed patience in our lives?
How will patience help young people if they are able to develop it?
For further thought:
“The greater our hurry, the longer the way; the greater our patience, the sooner we reach the goal.” ~ German proverb