Patience is an Etiquette Virtue

Oh if we could just be patient.  Rush, rush, rush...that’s what we’re doing these days.  Rushing to school, rushing to work, rushing to the gym, rushing to grab a bite, rushing to do homework, to call a friend and it goes and goes.  I’m exhausted just writing that sentence.  Did you know that being patient and slowing down when the time calls for it, is a virtuous characteristic?  Let me explain and give you a few examples.

When we think of a lady or a gentleman, we usually think of someone who is poised, calm, organized and polite.  I know we all know people who go about their lives like their hair is on fire, 24-7.  I hope this is not us.  These are people who run around in a semi or full blown panic mode most of the day.  I don’t trust these people!  They make me nervous and I don’t have confidence in their ability to make good decisions, get things done on time,  be reliable, etc.  How could they when they are so stressed out all the time?  Slow down.  Even if on the inside, your heart and mind are racing, never let it show.  

It’s also polite to be patient with others and not rush those we are with in any way (perhaps unless we can’t get our children out of the toy store).  For example, it is polite to walk at the pace of the slowest “walker” in our group.  If our family arrives to church and Grandma is with us and Grandma is an extremely slow walker, it is polite for our whole family to walk at Grandma’s speed.  But, we most do so without looking bored, annoyed or bothered.  We must enjoy the leisure walk, conversing and enjoying one another’s company.  It would be very rude for the children to run ahead and leave Grandma far behind.  Be patient.

It is also polite to eat at the speed of the host or the slowest person at our table.  Yes, sometimes people are extremely slow eaters.  However, if we remember our manners and remember that we are trying to help those around us to feel valued, then we would never quickly finish our meal only to leave the other person eating “alone.”  It is also very rude to ever exit the table while others are still dining.  When we do this, we send a very loud and clear message that we were there for one reason and one reason only, to fill our little (or not so little) bellies.  Be patient.

Finally, let’s be more patient with one another’s actions.  Remember, if we could see one another’s intentions, more than their actions, we would probably be much more forgiving and understanding.  Be patient.  We’re all here to learn and to grow.  Hopefully each day, we become a little better than we were yesterday.

Have a great month,
Monica Irvine