I remember the first course evaluation, 15 years ago, that I ever gave out to students. I was quite nervous to receive negative feedback from the kids. However, what struck me then and still strikes me to this day is that it’s actually the positive feedback that makes the most difference. I may not ever have recognized the power of being patient if it hadn’t kept popping up on evaluation forms semester after semester as being something that the students appreciated.
All kids need us to be patient with them. They’re figuring things out and grappling with new ideas and exploring their abilities. Giving them space and time to work through endeavors and transitions is extremely beneficial.
The same is true of adults. As adults, we think we and others should have a clear enough understanding of the world that we don’t need time to explore situations or ideas. No, we don’t need as much room as kids do, perhaps, but it does support our well-being to have more room than we typically give ourselves and each other.
For me, an access to patience is trust. Trust that they’ll get there. Trust that they’ve got the capacity to understand. Trust that they’ve got their own inner guidance system and it’s part of my job to help them to recognize it.
We can offer ourselves trust too. Trust that we’ll see the best path forward. Trust that we can thrive regardless of the circumstances of the situation. Trust that what got us here and what’s taking us forward has a wisdom and a genius to it.
Finally, we can also trust each other. Perhaps we’ve got little patience for those closest to us. Or for those of another political party. Or for other drivers on the road. Maybe each of us is doing the best that we can given the filters we’ve got of ourselves, each other, and the world. Maybe a gift of patience is exactly what the other needs to widen their awareness and realign themselves to what really matters.
Patience for another is actually a gift to ourselves too. It’s a gift to ourselves in the moment: it feels better to be calm than to be frustrated, angry, or anxious. And it’s a gift to our future selves: practicing being patient with others will build the skill of being patient with ourselves.
For me as a teacher and a man, I’m finding that my best patience comes from trust: that we all have access to an innate well-being that can point us to being understanding, fulfilled, and in love with life.
Thanks so much for reading. ❤️