We all know the sayings:
” a watched pot never boils” “good things come to those who wait” “one step at a time”
They are, of course, all referring to that elusive virtue. Patience.
As a mother of four, I am well aware that patience is something which comes in peaks and troughs. Peaking when playing with the building blocks with my littlest ray (she loves me building them up so that she can knock them down, over and over!) Then dipping down to the deepest depths, when I’ve told the children three times to put on their outdoor things and somehow they are wearing less clothes than they started with!!
Although patience is something which most of us use on a daily basis, it is a quality that society as a whole is losing fast.
As consumers, we want everything yesterday. Next day delivery is now the norm when shopping online. Should there be any delay, we demand and expect (at minimum) a full refund for having to wait a whole twelve hours extra.
Gone are the days of having to save for things. Credit cards and loans are now a part of everyday life for most people. Why wait for that new kitchen appliance, when you can have it in your kitchen first thing tomorrow, interest free! Spend a bit more than you intended and you’ll receive a 10% discount! If only people stopped to think, they would realise that by exercising patience, their debt could be zero.
Of course, a huge part of wanting everything yesterday is because we are trying to keep up with our peers. However, if we all adopted the same principle of waiting, there would be no need to feel inferior because neighbour A has a new television. Are we really so driven by product envy that we’re willing to get ourselves into debt in order to match pace?
As life in the fast lane rushes by, we begin to lose sight of the important things. People become faceless beings – so much so that we don’t even stop to apologise when we bump into someone. (I say we…I should note that I’m one of those people who apologises even when someone bumps into me!)
Manners are becoming a rarity. This is something which irks me greatly. In a post about patience, I’m not afraid to admit that I am becoming less patient with the lack of manners which some people possess. This is a particular worry when said people have children. What are we teaching the future generations, if we can’t even teach them the basics of “please” and “thank you”?
The future of our planet is also at risk, thanks to our dwindling patience. This seems like a rather hyperbolised statement to make, albeit a true one. Due to our fast-paced lives and our need for instant gratification, sustainable living has fallen by the wayside for many. Natural, sustainable, ethically produced items are snubbed, in favour of low-cost synthetics. Our fulfilment is brief, but the consequences for our planet are devastating.
There are, however, a rising number of people fighting for our beloved Earth. Sustainable living can take time to adapt to, especially if it’s not something you are used to. Researching an eco-friendly life will take up time, but it is time well-spent. We need to reconnect with the lost virtue and put it to good use for society and for our planet.
In my pursuit for a more sustainable life, patience is my friend. Slowing down will allow me to assess what I really need, in terms of possessions, as well as helping me appreciate the little things. It’s also my greatest ally the next time I tell my children to put their shoes on…