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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Soapbox: Patience

Paul Sweeney once said, "How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young?" For me, patience is a survival skill, a life skill. I do consider it is a skill, one that must be kept fresh and like a muscle exercised often to stay strong and available when needed.

Despite Sweeney's concerns, I think we must find a way to teach patience to our children. Children need to have patience to call upon when the work of life and living gets hard, when the progress toward a goal is slow. They need to understand that when we are patient with them, it is not because we do not have the energy to discipline, or the strength to engage.  We are using that strength and energy to keep our eyes on the distant goal. Patience is not laziness, or fatigue, or lack of commitment.  One of my favorite quotes about patience is by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. [I know, I know, Yes, it is the same Bulwer-Lytton of "It was a dark and stormy night" infamy. But I DO like his patience quote.]

Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength
I like the concept of active patience, of concentrated strength. Perhaps that is because sometimes it takes so much inner strength to hang on to my patience?  In any case, I wish us all patience.  I wish all of our children patience.  I recently found an affirmation quote that I wish were true.  When I need more of that "concentrated strength" of patience I repeat it over and over to myself.  Like many affirmations, I hope that perhaps if I say it often enough it will be true.  So, for all of us out in the ether world who may need it... repeat three times with me.....
"There is within me a deep, deep well of peace.  All day long, I'll draw on its endless supply."

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