Patience vs. Restlessness
We generally associate patience with times when things are moving slowly. But patience is just as important — maybe more important— when the clock is ticking. Patience is not letting time pressures fluster thinking; it is giving the time needed to ensure a good decision under pressure. Patience is persevering through discouragement to finish what needs to be finished.
In the last decade of the 19th century, businesswoman Patience Pringle bought a rice plantation near the South Carolina shore and began the difficult struggle of maintaining a rice business. Her birth name was Elizabeth, but she came to be known as Patience because of the tremendous patience she exhibited. She learned to accept difficulties with grace. She knew which problems to accept without fuss and which ones to seek to correct.
Bonaparte, one of the men Patience hired to be a crew manager, proved to be rather headstrong. She gave him specific instructions on how to organize the workers so that he could keep a close eye on the quality of their work. But Bonaparte insisted on conducting the project his own way. One October morning, Patience arrived at one of her fields to find Bonaparte’s crew covering seed so carelessly that they seemed to be digging up as much seed as they covered.
Patience was inclined to order Bonaparte from the field and repair the damage, but she realized she needed to strengthen her crews. To send Bonaparte from the field would mean destroying his prestige and authority, so she let him finish the job.
She decided to wait to address Bonaparte’s stubbornness at a more opportune time. She was willing to accept the short-term consequences of her manager’s negligence in order to protect the long-term team morale. Often there are trade-offs that an authority has to weigh. In such times, patience is gracefully accepting consequences in order to protect what is more important.
One way children can learn to exercise patience is by watching and waiting for a seed to sprout and grow. Plant seeds with your kids. Talk about patience as you check each day for progress.
By the Four Corners Character Council. Character First! Definitions and information used by permission. © Character Training Institute www.characterfirs.com.