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Persistence and Patience

As a society we are losing our way.

Catch your attention? Good. That was the hope.

Truth be told, this topic is a bit redundant for me in this space. Just one year ago, I penned a piece sharing recognition of a need to unplug.

So, at the risk of sounding trite or a bit Debbie Downer, I’ll expand a bit. Before doing so I’d like to share my ‘why?’ Why I see this as important, why revisit a topic covered and most important why in this space?

The answer is really quite simple. If my thoughts, insight and words cause five readers of the 15,000 magazines printed to pause and adjust, it’s worth it. My additional hope would be those five would inspire five more and so on and so forth.

My fear, rather, observation, as of late has been that as a society we have somehow forgotten how to exercise patience. Smartphones now serve as permanent pieces of our beings and in so being, we expect the same of others. No longer do we exercise the patience of pause when sending an e-mail or making a call and leaving a message.

We (globally speaking) have become so self-centered and impatient that we leave voicemails to follow-up e-mails we sent an hour ago or vice versa. Admittedly, I’m not one of these people. I do however possess the tendency to overthink if I don’t see a text reply within an hour of sending it, that’s a problem too.

My fear and primary reason for bringing this up has mostly to do with the ‘little’ eyes. My children and I have experienced our own growing pains, so to speak, as mom began enforcing the ‘it can wait’ philosophy. Three words I heard often as a child, yet somehow found myself abandoning with my own two.

When they were about ages four and seven, I began to recognize a pattern in my own behavior. When either would ask for something or needed help with a toy, a jacket, simply anything I would interrupt what I was doing to tend to them. While this may not seem a big deal, the problem lies in that they were not being taught to wait.

They were both figuratively and literally being taught that their need comes first.

That’s not real life. Whether I tied their shoe in that moment or did it after completing loading the laundry their life would remain intact. The shoe tying was not life threatening. It was urgent to them, but isn’t everything with a four and seven-year-old?

Therein lies the problem, we have largely become a society of grown adults behaving as four- and seven-year-olds in the way of communication and immediate response. We have abandoned the notion that the receiver may have something more pressing. They may need to consult with another before returning a call or sending back a reply.

Goodness, they may even be on vacation and failed to set up auto reply or reset voicemail.

As we head into this holiday season, let’s take some time to be more aware of our patience and tolerance. Let’s not overwhelm one another with our needs, which we feel may be more pressing than another’s. Instead let’s consciously try, really try to exercise patience with one another. The e-mail was received, the voicemail has been heard and now it’s your turn to – wait. ■