Patience: (Merriam Webster) Having little or no importance or significance.

(Urban Dictionary) The ability to stand (without complaining) long periods of hardship, boredom, being with parents or other difficult individuals, or being at a place you rather would like to leave. Often classified as a requirement for raising children, a relationship, learning, life, achieving anything, or conversation.

Good things come to those who wait, and apparently patience is a virtue. Well, I am often reminded that patience is a virtue that I do NOT posses. Maybe because I was an only child and never had to wait in line for the bathroom in the morning. What ever the reason, I know my lack of patience definitely keeps me away from certain situations. People often ask me why I don’t become an art teacher, since I’m such a talented artist. My reply is always, “I don’t have the patience to be a teacher. If someone doesn’t understand something, I know I am not going to keep repeating what I’m doing until they understand.” I use that line so often that sometimes I think I use it as an excuse. Sure, there are certain times and situations where we know upfront we will not have the patience to deal with things. But there are always exceptions.

About six years ago, back when I was living in Florida, a cousin of mine approached me for a favor. It was about three weeks before Christmas. My cousin said she had been trying to teach her daughter (who was around six-years-old at the time) how to tie her shoe, but was unsuccessful. My cousin had been trying to teach her daughter how to tie her shoe for months and was beginning to get frustrated. It got to the point where my cousin was so fed up, that she told her daughter, if she didn’t learn how to tie her shoes in the next few days, she was not going to have Christmas.

Ummm, I’ve seen kids who have gotten Christmas taken away from them. It is not a pretty sight, and ends well for no one involved. I could not bare to see this happen to my favorite little cousin. She was such a great kid and super smart. Without even going into my usual, “I don’t have the patience” speech, I agreed to help out. I thought it would be even easier since my cousin purchased a “how to” book for kids on tying shoes. Do you know what took my cousin months to struggle with I accomplished in under 30 minutes? Yes. I taught a six-year-old how to tie their shoes in under 30 minutes. I was so proud of myself. I didn’t get frustrated, impatient or anything! And the best part was, my little cousin learned how to tie her shoe AND still had Christmas.

Sometimes in life we don’t want to take time out and wait. We don’t want to give the extra attention to someone who may need it because we would rather be doing something else. When we get impatient, we miss all sorts of opportunities. And when we start our responses to requests like, “I don’t have the patience…..” we miss the opportunity to learn or teach someone else. Besides, do you want to be part of the reason why a kid misses out on Christmas?

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