The fine art of patiently waiting is a challenge for a great number of kids and adults. Please understand, I include myself in this group. Truth be known, I think I was better at the skill when I was younger – but then again, I had more practice waiting than I do now. Each year our family would pile into our station wagon and drive from Louisiana to Colorado for our annual vacation. And each year I had 12-18 hours of driving time to practice waiting. I remember wanting to snap my fingers and be in Colorado at the start of the trip but was forced to learn how to delay gratification because there was no other choice. Hours upon hours of listening to Kenny Rogers or John Denver on a continuous loop was the only way to pass the time.
Now, thanks to technology, we don’t have to wait nearly as long for anything. We are conditioned to get things quickly – fast food, fast internet – the list goes on. But speed comes at a cost. If we don’t practice waiting we don’t get better at doing so. This is why I think it is important to remind ourselves that kids today are growing up in a fast-paced world with individuals wanting what they want when they want it. Just as adults get frustrated with slow internet speeds, kids too are conditioned for immediate gratification. So, as adults, I believe we all need to practice being more patient and less judgmental when kids have a difficult time waiting.
Ah, but there is hope. I spent the past five days with my wife at Disney and Universal Studios in Florida. Did I mention no kids came with us? Woo Hoo – a small glimpse of what retirement holds for us. Although there were a lot of people on their phones, the large majority of individuals were in lines for long periods of time just talking, watching and waiting – delaying gratification in anticipation of entering parks and riding their favorite attractions. [It’s amazing how long some individuals will wait to ride on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.]
Stepping away from work and spending time with my wife was worth the wait. We are both exhausted and ready to be home, but as we board the first leg of our trip in about thirty minutes, we too, will have to be patient in anticipation of arriving home and being greeted by family pets and sons. Once again – most definitely worth the wait.