The “P” word. What word am I defining? Calmly tolerating provocation or delay...bearing misfortune or pain without complaint. Did you get it? If not, I have one more hint from a nine year old. “I think it is waiting for stuff even when you don’t want to.” Yes, the word is patience. Sometimes the simplest explanations are the best!
Have you ever stopped to think about the number of times on an average day you have the opportunity to practice patience? In a high-tech, internet-based, “I need it yesterday” world, patience no longer seems necessary, but in my humble opinion, it is more necessary than ever and really is a virtue.
Patience requires us to think beyond ourselves, as it usually involves others. In just one day, I found myself irritated in heavy traffic, in line at the grocery store, in line for a bike at the gym, sitting on hold for customer service and upset with the assumed incompetence of a business associate. By day’s end, my mood was lousy.
Rather than pouring myself a glass of wine and making the best out of the remainder of the day, I decided to analyze my mood. Why was I irritable? Could I be part of the problem? Of course, the things that irritated me irritate most people, but they were things either out of my control or involved others. My personal challenge for the next day was to exhibit patience in every scenario that called for it. What an amazing difference this one decision made in my day!
When traffic was heavy, I popped in a book on tape and actually sat in my driveway for an extra ten minutes listening to it once I got home. When a business associate was about to get on my last nerve, I took a deep breath, smiled and asked what I could do to help solve the problem.
Each time patience was required, I accepted the situation and either reworked my plan or got involved to move things along. It worked!! I was not irritable at the end of the day and it actually felt good knowing I had helped others who were stressed as well.
In a world of people divided by socio-economic, religious and political differences, there may be no better medicine for the soul than to put all this “stuff” aside, use a little patience and take the time to really see another person’s situation. Our own problems are automatically put into perspective and it becomes easier to lend a helping hand. One act of kindness can make a world of difference in another person’s life. It may not be what you did for them, but that you did it.
Have you seen the movie “The Blind Side”? I strongly urge everyone to take the time to experience this movie. It is a true story that shows the best and worst in all of us. In the end, however, with the support of her family, one woman’s big heart, patience and belief in another person changes all their lives. It is true testimony to the power of reaching out to others.
I recently published my first children’s picture book, “Anastasia Pickering, Anastasia’s Rain,” featuring Anastasia, Rufus the dog and Patience the fairy. This book is meant to be a teaching tool for values and life lessons. The lesson for Anastasia is .... patience of course! As I say in the book: “Patience is hard to learn, but important to use.” Teaching our children the importance of using patience is wise, but as we all know, using it ourselves and pointing out to them how much better things go when it is practiced is even wiser.
Experience will always be the best teacher! SO...please consider for 2010 using patience more in your daily routines, teach it to your children by example, use it with others even when it is very hard. Consider going one step further by stepping outside your comfort zone to lend a helping hand. I’m not sure how it will change the other person’s life, but I do know it will change yours.
Author, Sheila Kilpatrick wrote the Anastasia Pickering series for everyone who has faced a rainy day. She believes perplexing or difficult situations can present us with colorful answers if we listen to our inner (fairy) voices. Sheila, a breast cancer survivor has faced her own rain with the help of loyal friends and family. Her niece and nephew's magical points of view helped her see reflective healing colors in the quiet of the rain. She hopes Anastasia’s rain will open young minds to a different perspective as they face the showers and downpours of their own lives. Please visit: anastasiapickering.com for more information or email Sheila at: firstname.lastname@example.org