Have You Taught Them This Virtue?

Obviously you want your kids to be smart. You want your kids to be kind. You want them to be readers. You want them to be curious. 

We’ve talked about all of this before. 

For some reason, though, we haven’t talked much about patience, which is another critical virtue in a world where attention spans are shrinking while things of real import always seem to take longer than we expect, be it success or political change. 

“I wish more parents realized that patience is one of the most important ingredients that children need to develop,” Gary Vaynerchuk writes in his new book Twelve and a Half: Leveraging the Emotional Ingredients Necessary for Business Success. “We would have much happier children who wouldn’t need escapism to cope with the stress that impatience creates. A staggering number of people from 18 to 30 feel anxiety about their careers because they don’t have a good relationship with patience.” 

We have to teach our kids that good things come to those who wait. We have to remind them of the unfortunate truth of Hofstadter’s law—things always take longer than you expect. It takes time to find out who you are supposed to be in this life, to find the right person to marry, to build up equity in your home, to get good at the guitar, to see the results of your diet. More time than you think, than you planned for, than you hoped for.

A big part of being able to handle that reality in the future, is learning patience now—to wait until dinner is ready, for the computer to restart, for the traffic to clear on the way to their friend’s house. 

Patience is a virtue. 

Are you modeling it? Are you cultivating it? Perhaps more importantly, do you have the patience to cultivate it properly? Because it’s going to take longer than you think…

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