Character Building - Patience
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
IN this busy, bustling world is patience really desirable and necessary ? Is it not a disadvantage to the vigorous man or woman who is determined to succeed? Let us ask our-selves a few questions. What is patience? Is it desirable? Can it be cultivated? Should we try to teach it to our children by precept and by our own example? How can we come to a better understanding of what it means?
Sometimes when a boy tries to work out in his mind the meaning of a great big word like `kindness' or `ambition' or `eloquence' he thinks of some fine example of the quality. Eloquence, that's Webster and Clay! Ambition, that's Alexander the Great, trying to conquer the world. Kindness, that's his mother. But who represents patience?
The writer, years ago, knew a woman of sixty, of whose home he was a member for months. When he thinks of patience, he remembers her. She never worried or scolded or nagged or "got out of patience." When troubles came, she met them with calmness and courage. She thought what it was best to do and acted promptly-she did not worry. She possessed that excellent thing in woman-a low, sweet voice, which she did not elevate because some one said an unpleasant word or did a provoking thing. On "memory's wall" her picture stands for patience.
Dear Reader, whether you live in a Canadian forest or city jungle; whether you are a brave, free-hearted boy, or the happy father of such a boy-learn to be calm and self-possessed and patient. It is right and it is best. Let's say to ourselves: " Patience can be cultivated. I will cultivate it and will begin today."
Parents, we sympathize with you and wish to help you. It is difficult to be a good father or a good mother, just as it is difficult to be a good lawyer or a good preacher, but impatience and worry only make it more difficult. Your children are annoying and irritating at times, just as you were when you were young, but it pays to be kind and patient.
" The hasty word or act-properly speaking-has no place in the home. Just stop a moment before you scold or punish your child for some little act he ought not to have committed. In that moment you will recall some excuse for the act that will make it less wrong and the punishment uncalled for. Be patient with the little ones. How can you expect them to know as much or do as much as their elders? When a child asks questions, be patient enough to answer him. It is a child's right to be taught, and he can learn only by asking questions.
"Half the little annoyances of life will disappear if one is only patient under them. Almost all the other half will go the same way if one does not worry over them. Don't worry.
It never pays. The mind free from worry is in the best condition to make plans which are to lead to success."
You cannot learn to be patient by reading about it, any more than you can learn to swim by reading about it. But reading helps and inspires, and we suggest the following titles in the Library : "Contented John," "The Crow and the Pitcher," "One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes," "The Goose Girl," and "The Story of King Frost" in Volume I; "Muchie Lal" in Volume II; and "Griselda" in Volume III. In Volume VII read the division entitled "Heroism Under Adverse Fate." The biographies of S. F. B. Morse and Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Volume IX are recommended, and "How Great Things Are Done," in the same volume, applies to the question in hand. Of the poems in Volume XI none are more desirable than "The Angel of Patience" and Milton's sonnet, "On His Blindness."