Shortly after both of my daughters were born, I was reminded that my wife and I were going to not only be their first teachers but also their life-long teachers. It was going to be our job to make sure they learned important life skills, including being polite, using manners, the importance of truth, the value of a good education, and many others, including patience. It is this last one that I think is the hardest to teach and even master.
I have a feeling that the moment you read the word “patience,” many of you immediately thought of the famous quote from the mid to late 1300s, attributed to William Langhold from his poem, Piers Plowman, “Patience is a virtue.”
I bring up the idea of patience in this week’s column because I know that my patience has been tested these last several months. With everything we have been confronted with this past year, we have been asked to be patient. As our world has been spun all around between COVID and so much more, our patience has been tugged, pulled, and stretched to its limits. And sadly, things are not over yet and it is going to take longer. So, we need to summon up all of the internal fortitude we can muster and continue to wait.
I know how hard it has been. I think part of the challenge is that we expect instant gratification instead of having to wait. We are so used to things happening quickly, or being able to access information instantly, that we have a hard time having to wait for something. We live in a time that has changed so quickly. During my lifetime, I have watched this first hand, as I am sure you have as well. I remember when I was a student needing to go to the library to look in an encyclopedia for a research paper and now, students can look up the same information instantaneously in the palm of my hand. (Oh and it is current, unlike in an encyclopedia).
Being able to access this information, or any information instantly has made it harder for us when things take longer than we feel they should.
As a society, we need to show more patience and understanding. We need to be patient and recognize that things take a lot more time than any of us would like. This skill of being patient has become underdeveloped in our brains and yet, in times like this, it is evident how important it is. I share this as we continue to see the struggle of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.
It is important to remember and appreciate the fact that there is already a vaccine and it was developed in record time. Imagine how we would be feeling if the vaccine was still in development or in the clinical testing stage.
I know it is especially hard and frustrating that we need to continue to wait as we see the numbers remain at the levels they are currently at and the restrictions we face are still in place. We just need to give it more time. We need to continue to be patient and have faith in knowing that eventually everyone who wants the vaccine will be able to get it.
I know that as a child, I would never have been so eager to get a shot … let alone two! Guess it is one more life lesson I get to teach my daughters.