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October 2005 Character Quality -- Patience
The following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
A still, gray mist hung over the forest meadow. A gentle rain continued to fall, softening the fallen
leaves and making it difficult to hear anything that might be approaching. The conditions were
perfect for an early morning hunt -- just as every morning had been for the past week. A hopeful
hunter had been out in his tent every day during that week, searching for just the right deer and
just the right spot. He waited for several hours this particular morning when, finally, a beautiful
mule deer steeped into the meadow and began feeding. The hunter raised his gun quietly and
held it to his shoulder -- still waiting for the perfect shot. Several moments went by before the
deer turned. At that exact moment, the hunter squeezed the trigger. Soon, he was the proud
owner of a trophy mule deer. Had this patient hunter given up the second or third day, or had he
not waited for the best shot for a few seconds, his story would have had a different ending.

To be a good hunter, you must have patience with several things. To be a good citizen,
employee and family member, you must have patience with everything.
Patience is accepting a
difficult decision without giving a deadline to remove it.
A patient person does what he can when
he can. He perseveres through hard times, and when he has to, he accepts the fact that he
must wait. Thomas Edison -- the inventor who did not succeed until the 8,000th try to invent the
light bulb -- said this, "Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits."

"We also glory in tribulations," the Apostle Paul says, "knowing that tribulation works patience,
and patience experience, and experience hope." For a caterpillar to become a beautiful butterfly
it must struggle and work. If "help" is given, it will not have the needed strength to free itself from
its cocoon. Many times, if we work through our problems, we gain much more than if someone
relieves the situation before we have victory.

Patience is not complacency. If you must wait be alert to what is going on, so when you
continue you will be ready. It also helps to think "outside the box." Rather than focusing on
immediate problems, get a higher perspective of your current trials, and discern through it what
you can change. Maintain a joyful attitude through all trials. If you have too many lemons, make
lemonade! Being joyful not only helps us to get through our situations, but it raises the morale of
the entire team.

There are many benefits of being patient. By going through problems slowly and clearly
problems may not seem to be quite as big, and you may find lasting solutions. Because of this, it
reduces stress. Someone who has learned to be patient is a very mature person. He realizes
that God allows difficult problems to arise as a useful tool to help him grow.

Focus on the process and take the necessary time to work it out. Thomas A. Kemphis said, "All
men commend patience, although few be willing to practice it." Let us be the few willing to
practice it. We will be in high demand if we can achieve such a thing.
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! materials.  For more information about the
Character First! program and resources contact:  Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma
City, OK  73102,  (405) 815-0001. Visit the Character Council of Red River Valley at