Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2 NIV)
As school will begin this week for Colleton County, among other districts, the Lord led me to talk about “patience” for this message. We are still in a pandemic, and the way in which teachers teach and children learn is going to be different as a result. There will be both virtual and face-to-face instruction.
My whole point in this is that in order for this new way of educating to work, everyone must be patient: the school board, the educators, the students, the parents and the community-at-large. All of us must support each other. Negative criticism is not going to help the process, but it can surely destroy it. If you have a better idea, share it and be a part of the process. The bottom line is that we all must stay patient and trust the journey.
During this journey, do as it says in Ephesians 4:2 (NIV): “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Patience with understanding will yield better results for all involved.
I was a secondary school educator for 39½ years in both Alabama and South Carolina. If I had not learned to have patience on this journey, I never would have experienced the success that I did. I did not always have the patience that I should have had, but I soon learned that every child did not learn the same, all co-workers were not going to be supportive, and some parents were always going to find fault. It was through my personal, work and church experiences that I learned to have more patience. I had to learn this through raising my own three sons, a stepson and a stepdaughter and helping to raise grandchildren. The patience needed to teach and raise children is not going to come overnight.
My walk with God played a big role in this. When your patience is tested, sometimes you have to take a step back, evaluate the situation and then take action. If you don’t, then you will probably regret the results. Take note of the following quotes about patience.
■ “Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” (Anonymous)
■ “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” (Aristotle)
■ “Patience is when you’re supposed to get mad, but you choose to understand.” (Anonymous)
■ “Our patience will achieve more than our force.” (Edmund Burke)
■ “To lose patience is to lose the battle.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
When people and situations test your patience, you cannot always do the first thing that comes to mind, for if you do, regret will soon follow. In this new order of educating our children, my prayers go out to everyone involved in the process. This is not going to be easy, so patience must be placed at the forefront. If you cannot help the process, and you refuse to trust it, please keep your negative thoughts to yourself. This journey is going to take patience, time and understanding.
Just to show you how a lack of patience and understanding can bring about devastating results, read and think about the consequences in this story, “Patience” (Nirander):
“A man came out of his home to admire his new truck. To his puzzlement, his three-year-old son was happily hammering dents into the shiny paint of the truck. The man ran to his son, knocked him away, and hammered the little boy’s hands into pulp as punishment. When the father calmed down, he rushed his son to the hospital. Although the doctor tried desperately to save the crushed bones, he finally had to amputate the fingers from both the boy’s hands.
“When the boy woke up from the surgery and saw his bandaged stubs, he innocently said, ‘Daddy, I’m sorry about your truck.’ Then he asked, ‘But when are my fingers going to grow back?’
“The father went home and committed suicide.
“Think about this story the next time someone steps on your feet or you wish to take revenge. Think first before you lose your patience with someone you love. Trucks can be repaired. Broken bones and hurt feelings often can’t. Too often we fail to recognize the difference between the person and the performance. We forget that forgiveness is greater than revenge. People make mistakes. We are allowed to make mistakes. But the actions we take while in a rage will haunt us forever. Pause and ponder. Think before your actions. Be patient. Forgive and forget. Love one and all.”
Have a wonderfully blessed week, stay safe, get involved in righting the wrongs of social injustice, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a retired educator who lives in Walterboro. She can be reached at email@example.com.)