Patience is a Virtue?

In the early days of humanity there was not a word for, or much need for patience. Our ancestors were busy fulfilling their first two or three levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It was usually a full day’s work to provide food, water, warmth, rest and then security and safety. If they had a significant other, they and the other may get around to belonging and love needs. I would assume they satisfied the love thing at times or we would not be here. I imagine at some point when we settled into clans, tribes, or communities there was one “chief” who satisfied his esteem needs, but I digress. Truth be told, I typically spend more time digressing than making a point, but I will repent for a few sentences and you will just have to decide which mode I am in at any given point. The point being there was no need for patience because there was not such an abundance of anything that delayed gratification was necessary. The word began to appear between 1175 and 1225 AD in Middle English as “pacience” and later in Latin as “patientia”. At some point during this time, a father said to his son; “hold your horses” indicating that they owned more than one and either needed to rest them or delay some action.

To make a liar of, the idea appeared in New Testament writing at least as early as 75-80 AD. John, the disciple of Jesus and early leader of Christianity, encouraged early generations of Christians to show patience in waiting for the return of Jesus. For thousands of years Jews had expected the Messiah to appear and establish His new kingdom on earth. The idea that He would be murdered, rise from death, and return to heaven without establishing said kingdom was not in the cards of Old Testament prophets. The first Christians expected He would return in their lifetimes, so by 75-80 AD there was an “antimessiah” movement that said Jesus was not the Messiah because His delayed return was not reasonable and therefore the early leaders of the church were telling lies. For anyone not certain by now, I believe everything John, Peter, Paul, James, Matthew, Luke, etc…said, believed, and wrote about Jesus.

So, what has happened in the past 2000+ years with patience. We eventually developed methods of farming that in many communities there was more food grown than could be eaten and we had to develop methods of preserving. Weapons made us the unquestioned winner of the hunter games and again, we needed ways to preserve meat that was not consumed within hours of killing. Ditto for fishing. This phenomenon required that we develop an ability to push away from the dinner table or we would be too round to accomplish safety, security and that love thing. With advances in industrialization, people owned more than just the clothes on their backs. This required that our infamous shopper gene be tamped down so we would still have enough money to buy food, safety, etc… I am of the opinion that one of the greatest disservices we can do to our children is not teaching them patience. Young adults with no patience have trouble accepting no as an answer to anything. It is very difficult if your initial experience with rejection or dejection occurs at somewhere around 20 years of age.

I guess my big leave would be that we should work very hard to teach all of our children the value of waiting for stuff. It can make anyone work harder to get what they want. It teaches financial management and can deliver us from the collector of delinquent credit accounts. Patience goes a long way to “paying one’s dues” when entering the workforce. No one is entitled to a promotion, ever! Now that I have tested your patience by making this about two paragraphs too long, please hurry and do something productive.


About 4 beautiful grands and counting

An old guy who has fortunately learned it is not about me, but four young ones and the generation in between. I have a lot of extra time and enjoy writing and if you like any one thing you read, I have done well! Thanks
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