We’re struggling with patience as a nation of express lanes, fast food, and smartphones. You can stream any movie, anywhere, anytime. You can get a package delivered to your house the same day you order it. We’ve learned to expect what we want as soon as we want it. But it’s a problem when we impose those same expectations on people. We demand instant acceptance from peers, instant response from employees, and instant help from our spouses, regardless of their schedules.
And when we don’t get the immediate response we expect, we react negatively. My type A personality and our demanding world have joined forces and resulted in one of my biggest struggles—being patient. I have to work hard at being patient with circumstances and being patient with people. But my kids and my wife, Susan, are helping me with it. Here’s how.
What My Kids Have Taught Me
My kids have taught me a lot of things, and I can tell you, it’s a very humbling experience. One thing they’ve shown me over and over again is my lack of patience. For example, they’ve pointed out my impatience with the grocery store cashier during checkout, with the waitress at a restaurant, and while hurriedly driving them to school when they were kids. You get the picture. When my children point out my impatience or other faults, I can respond by being defensive or I can listen and thank them for pointing it out to me and ask them to keep reminding me. I’m pleased to report that I’ve been patiently doing the latter.
What My Wife Has Taught Me
My wife also knows how often I’m struggling with patience. On October 11, 2010, Susan was sitting across the table from me in the conference room at a Family First leadership team meeting. I received a text from her during the meeting at 10:47 a.m. I know the exact date and time because I saved the text as a reminder. It simply said, “Patience, kindness.” She saw me being short and cutting people off in the meeting and gave me a gentle nudge in the right direction.
Patience is a choice. When you’re patient, you choose to hold your tongue instead of releasing its venom. You choose to have a long fuse instead of a quick temper. Patience is choosing to control your emotions rather than letting your emotions control you. And even if it takes a little help, it’s something all of us can do.
Patience is choosing to control your emotions rather than letting your emotions control you.
Do you struggle with being patient? What do you do about it?
Portions of this blog came from my book, All Pro Dad: Seven Essentials to Be a Hero to Your Kids.