Be Patient Under All Conditions

February 14, 2013

By Karen Tucker Lynch 

As a mother I would sometimes get irritated with my children expecting me to respond immediately to their requests. I was already juggling a full time job, taking care of the household needs, participating in my community, and – most importantly, being present and available to my children’s needs. Immediate expectations frequently seemed like an additional burden that could easily be just too much.

I found myself increasingly frustrated with their demands. I would try to ask them nicely to wait and tell them that I was working on getting what they wanted. I would give a simple retort about patience being a virtue. My attitude would sometimes become increasingly intolerant.

As I heard myself calling for patience to be used as a virtue, I decided to investigate its spiritual principle, as it was described in the Baha’i writings. To truly call forward the virtue of patience could change the spirit of everyone involved (the children and me).

After researching the Baha’i writings, I found a statement by Baha’u’llah: “Be patient under all conditions, and place your whole trust and confidence in God” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 295). This was simple enough to memorize, which I did. Instead of telling the children to wait I would say this line.

Saying and listening to the words myself, I came to recognize that it was a formula on how to become patient. If someone is impatient, they probably have a lack of trust or confidence that their desire will come to them, or that they will achieve what they pursue. With this understanding, I started to interact with my children differently. I would listen and look for clues as to how they do not have trust or confidence that their requests will be met. Instead of just saying, be patient, I started to explain how they could see me meeting their request. Or, I would give them a clear time when I would respond.

The greatest impact this method of calling for patience from my children has had is on my perspective of how to deal with impatience. Now, when I see impatience in myself or others, I look and listen for where trust and confidence can be supported. It seems to help reduce the stress of many situations.

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