Patience is still a virtue

Whether you’re aware of it or not, I’m certain you’ve heard Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee” at some point in your life. There are many days when it feels like my brain operates in perfect synchronicity with the orchestral interlude. My mother always jokes that I 8-20 Page 4A.inddhave “flight of ideas” but I don’t think it is much of a stretch some days.

I wish I could count the number of ideas that flutter through my mind in any given period of time. And I tell you this only because I have had about 10 different thoughts upon which to base my column this week, and I was thinking it would be neat if I could arrange them all into some type of cohesive, wordsmithed casserole. The busier and more overwhelmed I am, the more the ideas pour forth like a rush of water escaping the confines of its dam.

For the sake of time and holding your interest, I suppose I need to focus on one idea and move forward. Here we go: It is difficult to teach children the value of patience, waiting and working toward something, when we live in a society that is inundated with opportunities for instant gratification.

One of the greatest parts of the Christmas season when I was a child was the promise of seeing my favorite Christmas cartoons (for lack of a better word) that ran on television only once a year. Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, A Charlie Brown Christmas and how The Grinch Stole Christmas were among my favorites.

As a child, I distinctly remember scouring the pages of the TV Guide that was included in Sunday’s newspaper so I would know the exact date and time these specials would air on television. If I missed Rudolph on the day and time it aired, I had to wait until next year, because there wasn’t a DVR and the program wasn’t syndicated on multiple channels.

Today we can walk into any Wal-Mart and find DVD copies of these Christmas classics to watch year–round. Just pop the disc of Frosty the Snowman into the DVD player and, voila, it is Christmas in July. While I appreciate the accessibility technological advances have allowed us, in many ways I also believe that it has stunted our growth in other areas — like learning and practicing patience.

It is difficult to teach children that there are special things in life worth waiting for when our society offers these things instantly with one stroke of a key, one click of a mouse or a push of the play button on the DVR. I want my daughters to learn that there are thing in life worth waiting for, and that there is great value in working hard for the things we want most.

Know that I am not a perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination, but I try diligently to instill in my daughters those values that were passed on to me by my mom and grandparents. To this end, I make it a point to say “no” even when I would really like to say “yes” or indulge my girls in something they want immediately.

I’ve learned to be perfectly OK with them thinking that I am “mean” when I enforce boundaries, because I hold on to the hope that they will appreciate the structure when they are mothers. “No” is not a bad word. Neither is “not today” or “not right now.”

Most of us parents want our children to be happy. Many of us want to give them all the things we didn’t have when we were children. Part of helping our children become happy, well-adjusted adults is teaching them when they are young that there are limits.

Despite the fact we live in a world where everything is so easily accessible and with lightning-fast speed, patience is a virtue worth practicing because there are still some things in life — like love and friendships — that take time to develop and nurture and should be prized as something special that comes along only once a season.